Tuesday, August 27, 2013
'Kickalicious' might have an NFL future
By Kevin Seifert
Kickalicious, we hardly knew ye.
As NFL teams move toward Tuesday's 75-man roster limit, the Detroit Lions ended their experiment with Norwegian place-kicker Havard Rugland. It was fun while it lasted. Seriously.
Expectations for Rugland were as low as possible when training camp began. He was a complete newcomer to the game and had drawn the Lions' attention for reasons that had little to do with his capacity to be an NFL kicker. His viral YouTube video of trick kicks was one. The other was the fact that he kicked with his left foot, which would allow the Lions to use the same operation in practice as they would with veteran David Akers, who is also a lefty.
Rugland proved a quick study, developing enough to get three field goal opportunities this preseason. He made all three, including one from 50 yards and another from 49. But coach Jim Schwartz said earlier this month that "this isn't a circus show," and it was clear from then on that the job was Akers' as long as he proved healthy.
My sense is that Rugland showed enough to get onto the NFL's scouting radar, even if it is just for future workouts. He has a genuinely strong leg and it's clear that he's coachable. He made legitimate progress for a player who had never worn a football helmet before this year.
Note: The Lions also released cornerback DeQuan Menzie. They have three more roster spots to eliminate by Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.