Friday, August 30, 2013
'Kickalicious' is latest Packers interest
By Kevin Seifert
So here's an interesting intra-division twist: "Kickalicious" worked out Friday morning for the Green Bay Packers, according to his Twitter account as well as a source of my colleague Rob Demovsky.
Havard Rugland is the Norwegian-born place-kicker whose fame rose with a viral YouTube video of trick kicks this spring. He signed with the Detroit Lions and was more competent than expected for a kicker with no experience in the game, making all three of his preseason field goal attempts -- including two from 50 and 49 yards. But the Lions released him last week after determining that veteran David Akers was healthy and ready to be their full-time place-kicker this season.
The Packers put incumbent Mason Crosby through intense competition throughout training camp before releasing competitors Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez this week. They also restructured Crosby's contract, reducing his base salary from $2.4 million to $800,000 with a chance to earn back the difference through incentives.
The new contract made it seem more likely than not that Crosby would open the season as the Packers' kicker, but the team is at least keeping an active file of other kickers available. Rugland has an exceptionally strong leg but was planning to spend time this fall at a kicking academy to fine tune his technique. Stay tuned.
Here's a link to the YouTube video, which at last look had more than five million views.