Lions add Norwegian sensation Havard Rugland to kicking competition
Havard Rugland will compete against veteran kicker David Akers, who signed as a free agent with the Detroit Lions last week. The Detroit Lions had been looking for a replacement to kicker Jason Hanson, who retired just a day before David Akers’ signing, after completing 21 seasons in the league.
The left-footed kicker Havard Rugland played amateur soccer in Norway before developing an interest in football during 2011. Since last November, Havard Rugland has been training in San Deigo at former NFL kicker Michael Husted’s training camp.
Havard Rugland initially rose to prominence through a youtube video titled “Kickalicious” in which he won which he performed several trick-shots. The video went viral as Havard Rugland gained more tham 2.7 million views on youtube.
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz said at the NFL League Meeting last month that the team first came across Havard Rugland on youtube as well as through league channels.
With the newfound hype he was gaining, Havard Rugland won a workout with the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns by the end of the 2012 season. Havard Rugland also visited the Detroit Lions last month, although he went empty handed at the time.
Typically Detroit Lions carry two kickers at this point in the year for competition and to preserve the legs of their specialists. Usually one is favorite to win the job, in this case David Akers, who despite his 2012 disappointing season has NFL experience.
Last season, the six-time Pro Bowler David Akers 13 of 42 field goals for the San Francisco 49ers while battling through a hip injury.
However, Havard Rugland will wait for his opportunity to impress the coaches when he is called upon. It will be an interesting competition since both players are left-footed.