Havard Rugland, better known as “Kickalicious,” is doing everything he can with the Detroit Lions this offseason to prove that he’s more than just an internet sensation.
The Norwegian kicker landed on the Lions’ radar after a trick-shot video of his went viral on YouTube. Although Rugland has no formal experience playing football, the guy sure has some control when kicking the pigskin.
The biggest challenge for Rugland as he attempts to make the transition to the NFL is staying cool under pressure and handling game situations, which he is a complete stranger to. Kickalicious has never played American football, which puts him at quite the disadvantage.
Throughout the Lions’ offseason activities, Rugland has filled in as the primary kicker. Even with no past football experience, Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz has been impressed with the 6’2’’, 245-pound kicker.
“He’s done a nice job working through all the different things that are new to him. That’s encouraging to see,” Schwartz told the Detroit Free Press.
Unfortunately, the starting job isn’t exactly his to lose.
This offseason, the Lions also signed veteran kicker David Akers, who, before last season, was seen as one of the most reliable legs in the NFL. Akers is coming off a poor 2012 season and offseason groin surgery, but is expected to be ready when training camp arrives. At that time, the 38-year-old veteran will slide in as the starting kicker.
Since joining the Lions, Rugland has proved that he has the accuracy and strength to kick at the professional level. It’s a longshot that he unseats Akers for the starting job, but has clearly worked his way onto the NFL’s radar.
Then again, stranger things have happened in the NFL.