Schwartz Says Akers Was Clear Choice Over ‘Kickalicious’
The Detroit Lions announced today they cut YouTube sensation Havard Rugland, aka Kickalicious. Rugland signed with the Lions in April after his video went viral.
“There’s a reason we brought him to training camp, and he has good ability,” head coach Jim Schwartz said. “Like a lot of young kickers, he needs to work on consistency, but that’s a lot of guys that have been released over the past few weeks. Same thing. And not a matter of talent as much as consistency and things like that.”
Rugland had never played a snap of football in his life before suiting up with the Lions this preseason. And he made quite the impression the first time he took the field.
The first NFL game Rugland, formerly a Norwegian amateur soccer player, saw live was in New York in 2011. The next year he attended another one, his second, in San Diego.
His third ever NFL game, Rugland was in uniform for the Lions, nailing field goals of 49 and 50 yards.
“I was hoping, but I never expected to get an opportunity,” Rugland said at the time, “so I’m really happy to be here.”
Rugland was 3-3 on field goal attempts this preseason, making kicks from 49, 50 and 33. Fans all seemed to love Kickalicous, but he ultimately lost the kicking battle to veteran David Akers. Akers has connected on 7-8 field goals this preseason.
Akers, who is 38 years old and entering his 14th season in the NFL, said his experience gave him the edge over Rugland.
“Experience plays a lot in this league,” Akers said. “Even playing high school and college, people say, ‘Well, we’d like to give you an opportunity, but we really don’t have the experience that we’re looking for.’ Well how do you get the experience if you don’t get the opportunity? It’s a double-edged sword.”
Even though Rugland has been cut by the Lions, that does not necessarily mean his NFL career is over.
“He can continue to try to get preseason-type games in and just get more consistent with form,” Akers said. “The sky’s the limit. His attitude’s so great … He’s just a wonderful person and I’m blessed to call him a friend now.”