When Havard Rugland posted this video on YouTube, showing him kicking footballs with incredible distance and accuracy, he figured it would just be something fun to show his friends at home in Norway. He’s still shocked that it attracted millions of viewers around the world and ended with him getting invited to the United States to train with an American kicking coach, and even more shocked that he’s now under contract to the Detroit Lions.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Rugland told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “I appreciate it. Feel lucky to have this opportunity, and I’m going for it.”
Rugland almost certainly won’t actually make the Lions’ 53-man roster. David Akers is set to be the Lions’ kicker, and Rugland is there less because he has a chance to beat out Akers in a competition than because the Lions wanted a second kicker on the roster for practice, and wanted that second kicker to be left-footed like Akers so that practice snaps and holds could be consistent.
But the mere fact that Rugland turned a YouTube trick shot video into a spot on an NFL team’s roster is remarkable. And with his talent for kicking a football, it’s entirely possible that an offseason of work with the Lions won’t be the end of his NFL career.