Travel gives Kalif Raymond perspective in Detroit Lions fight for post


Allen Park – Each individual has their own story.

As for Kalif Raymond, the well-traveled Lions wide receiver has a rather intriguing chapter.

In 2018, after spending a brief period as a member of the practice squad with the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, Raymond made a 24-day trip through Australia, Bali and Thailand. during the off-season.

“I feel like I always want to learn about myself and see what I can handle, and there is nothing like putting myself in another country, a different environment and everything is foreign” Raymond said after training at training camp on Tuesday.

“You don’t know the language, you don’t know the culture, you don’t know what to do, but being able to put yourself in that position, being able to understand it is kind of a test to see what you can handle. “

During the trip abroad, Raymond spent eight days in a hut in Bali. He stayed with a family who had built several shelters and spent the time meditating, reading and running. Above all, Raymond said he focused on clearing his mind and “defining my intentions as the kind of man I wanted to be.”

Still, it was far from a tropical beach retreat. The hut was in the woods and Raymond remembers hearing all kinds of animals roaming around and making noises every time he went to bed.

After his layover in Bali, Raymond spent eight days in Thailand, where he ended up hiking for four hours through the mountains to get a Sak Yant tattoo from a monk in a temple in the woods.

“It was actually a crazy experience, man. A very moving experience too, ”he said. “I got there and I remember them asking me, ‘Hey, have you eaten? I said to myself: “Eat? I’m trying to make sure I’m here alive. I did not take a bite.

Raymond has the tattoo – the only one he has – on the back of his left shoulder. It is an image of a guy named Hanuman, who according to Raymond has reached a high spiritual level and symbolizes the strength, courage and good of mankind.

Oddly, Raymond said that getting a monk tattoo was something he put on his bucket list during his college days at Holy Cross.

Following: Observations from the Lions camp: Kalif Raymond pleads for a place on the list

“It’s far-fetched, but I was really proud of myself because saying something and actually doing it is one of the basic tenets I believe in – being a man of my word,” he said. . “I was a man of my word to myself, going out and doing it.”

While in Thailand, Raymond also shared the story of an encounter he had with a homeless man who was missing a leg. He was at the market and ordered duck soup when the man asked for change. Raymond bought him a meal and noticed how the homeless was treated no differently when he walked inside, an example he called “an eye opening.”

“I just wanted to test myself and see what I can experience,” Raymond said. “I think the biggest thing I learned was probably perspective. I think that’s huge, especially in today’s world – perspective and sort of see how different people react.

Raymond carried that prospect with him into training camp as he tries to earn a berth in the roster and stay with the Lions after bouncing between four different teams in his first five years in the league.

Despite playing 35 career games and seeing much of his action as a returning man, Raymond (5-foot-8, 182 pounds) received his fair share of reps with the first-team offense. , working both inside and outside the camp receiver.

For his career, he has 19 receptions for 369 yards and one touchdown, most of those numbers coming from the last two seasons with the Titans.

“Lif is a stallion. He is everything we are, ”said coach Dan Campbell. “Anyone who has flexibility, versatility, position, flex, intelligence, in addition to their abilities, it helps a lot. It helps A-Lynn (offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn) lead the game. It helps us with the matches. He is able to do a number of things. We updated it to Z (receiving location) yesterday. He plays the F.

“He could be a trinket for us, doing different things maybe outside the backfield. But he’s also a turner. He’s just going to work everyday. Every day it is nonstop. You look up there and he blocks the guys in the running game, throwing his body around. He’s competitive as hell. I’m glad we got it.

Even though Raymond seems on his way to securing a job and could potentially play an important role in attack and special teams, he is not getting ahead as he begins a new chapter with a new team.

“I just want to come here and be in the moment, be the best man I can be in every game, every down, every down,” said Raymond, who practices jiu-jitsu to improve his grip and conditioning. “When you get too far in the future I’ll go off on a punt return and realize I’m thinking of a play behind me or I think of the punt return in two games from now on and then you lose. this game.

“For me, if I stay in the present moment and take care of the moment, when I look back on my day, I feel like I had a pretty good day because I took every representative for what it was. There are goals that are set far into the future, but it’s hard to look at them right now. I’m hoping to go back to the season and tell myself, man, I actually checked off every one of them. “

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Twitter: @jamesbhawkins

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