Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland was a curious addition to the Lions’ roster because the Lions signed veteran NFL kicker Dave Akers to replace Jason Hanson.
The Norwegian soccer player has never played football, but he has quite the leg strength. Here are five things we learned about Kickalicious in minicamp and the OTAs:
1. He appears to be a quick learner. He had never even worn a helmet until rookie minicamp in early May. Coach Jim Schwartz said he’s moved from one step to another with ease.
3. His famous four-minute YouTube video showed his kicking prowess with him kicking the football into a trash can and through a basketball net. We know now he can also kick it through the uprights. One day in minicamp he was particularly amazing with 100-percent accuracy from as far as 50 yards.
4. When he kicks field goals on the Lions’ outdoor practice field there’s a grassy knoll behind the goal posts and then a barn. He routinely kicked the football through the uprights and over the barn and it didn’t look like he was overkicking — it looked like he wasn’t using all his leg strength.
5. The preseason will be the big test for Rugland. He should not be laughed off. In 1966 there was another kicker looking for a shot in the NFL and the Lions gave him a tryout. He had never played football either. He passed the test and as a rookie broke a record kicking six field goals in one game. He lasted 15 seasons in the NFL, going to the Pro Bowl twice.