“Kickalicious” Havard Rugland, a trick-shot artist from Norway, has been signed by the Detroit Lions to compete against NFL veteran David Akers to replace retiring kicker Jason Hanson.
Rugland, who is 6 feet 2 and 240 pounds, was signed Thursday, although terms of the deal were not released. Detroit had agreed to terms on Tuesday with Akers, a star with the Philadelphia Eagles before he went to the San Francisco 49ers, who eventually released him after he had some accuracy issues at the end of last season.
Videos of Rugland performing trick kicks went viral last year. Rugland, who spent time in La Jolla working with former NFL kicker Michael Husted, makes an amazing array of kicks through the uprights in the video from incredible distances and angles, not to mention trick kicks into garbage cans, baskets, into a boat on a lake, etc.
The Lions reportedly brought Rugland in for a tryout last month but kept their options open until Hanson announced his retirement.
Rugland now has the opportunity he’s wanted.
“I believe I’ve got a pretty good chance to get a contract,” Rugland said earlier this year. “If not right away, I will get one because I really do think that I’m at least going to be good enough and I just have to be better than the people I’m competing with and make them believe in me and go with a guy without too much experience.”
Husted, who had a nine-year career as an NFL kicker, believes in Rugland’s potential.
“As long as he continues to stay focused and work hard, I think he has a good opportunity to earn a spot or at least get signed, and the rest is up to him after that,” Husted said.