49ers wide receiver Malik Turner made a loud entrance into Thursday’s preseason finale in Houston when he thumped the Texans’ punt returner on San Francisco’s first punt of the game. The collision didn’t draw a flag, but it was likely the impetus for a $5,750 fine levied against him by the NFL.
NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero on Saturday reported Turner was fined for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Given that the hit was a helmet-to-helmet blow where the 49ers’ gunner led with the crown of his helmet, it’s hard to imagine the hefty fine was related to anything else he might’ve done.
While that hit earned him a fine, the play is ultimately the reason Turner will likely wind up on San Francisco’s roster. He’s a good special teams player for a club that badly needs to improve that unit. He had a nice preseason as a pass catcher, but kick coverage is where he’s going to make the biggest impact this season, and that play was dynamite coverage where he arrived just as the ball nestled into the punt returner’s hands.
The hit would likely draw a flag and another fine if he flies in head first again, so that’ll be something he has to avoid. Everything else before that was a win for the veteran receiver.