Lions rookie kicker puts on a helmet for the first time in his life

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Not many people sign an NFL contract before they’ve ever worn a football helmet. But Havard Rugland’s path to the NFL was not like most.

Rugland, the Norwegian kicker who parlayed a trick shot YouTube video into a spot on the Lions’ offseason roster, had the first football practice of his life at the Lions’ rookie minicamp on Friday. Lions coach Jim Schwartz was asked afterward where the coaches had to start with Rugland.

Putting a helmet on,” Schwartz answered. “Didn’t really get that whole thing. I actually asked him out there, ‘Is this the first time you’ve had a helmet on,’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ So, you’ve got to start there.”

Rugland is not expected to make the regular-season roster, and Schwartz detailed how much work Rugland has to do.

“You know, he’s kicked the ball his whole life but it’s different,” Schwartz said. “There’s a snapper, there’s a holder, and there are 10 other guys on the field. It’s not an individual sport. As much as the technique and everything else is individual, you’re relying on a lot of different guys. So, this was his first taste of that. We didn’t really do any kicking today, but as we go that will be. But he’s never put a pair of football pants on. When we make thigh pads and knee pads mandatory, he’s not going to know which one’s which and where they go without some direction.”

That’s the kind of teaching most NFL coaches don’t have to worry about. But Rugland has to start somewhere.

21 responses to “Lions rookie kicker puts on a helmet for the first time in his life

  1. Well, he’s a kicker so it’s not like he needs Peyton Manning type intelligence of the game. It will be a completely different experience than kicking those trick shots though. In addition to the whole snapper and holder thing there’s also 11 big strong athletes on the other side who will try and stop you from kicking.
    I’ve watched the Youtube videos and he’s an incredible talent- IF those videos are real and not shopped somehow. The main obstacle is the pressure he’ll be under when the game is riding on his kick. I think WAY too many games are decided by the kicker these days.

  2. I get a serious “The Replacements” movie vibe from this guy. Would be awesome if he could turn it around and make the team.

  3. Considering his football background, I think it’ll take one late hit from the opposing team to scare this kid permanently from kicking in an NFL game. I don’t care if he can bounce a ball off the scoreboard through the posts, he’s not used to doing that while 275 pounders are trying to take his head off. He won’t last.

  4. He is a long shot, but I’m rooting for him. At the very least, it would be cool to see him free kick one. We haven’t seen a free kick in a while & a 60 yarder would be awesome.

  5. It looks like he is modeling his physique after one of the more successful kickers in the past 10 years, Janikowski.

    That solid, brick-like stature seems to be a good mold for those Euro kickers..

  6. Dude looks like he never met a cheeseburger he didn’t like. Should be hilarious watching him try and chase down a kick returner.

  7. Listed at 6’2″ 245. He could probably hold his own on kickoff coverage. Sweet video and hope he makes it. Lions need to find the heir to one of the all-time best, Jason Hanson.

  8. “knee pads are mandatory.” that’s so funny

    If I was constantly getting sued for injuries by my former employees I would make all safety measures mandatory too.

  9. knucklehead93 says:
    May 11, 2013 9:39 AM
    Technically, Schwartz, there are 8 other guys on the field after the snapper, holder, and kicker.

    I’m sure you do know that rule, right???

    Yeah…Jim Schwartz is an NFL head coach with a degree from Georgetown. You’re a self described knucklehead. You should probably keep your “thoughts” to yourself from now on.

  10. Exactly how many “attempts” did he have that never made it into his final video? The video proves leg strength, but not accuracy.

    I could make a basketball video that made me look like an improved MJ – but it would probably take me a year of “attempts” to complete a two minute video…

    His video doesn’t include all the missed kicks, so it really doesn’t tell us much about his accuracy.

  11. “Considering his football background, I think it’ll take one late hit from the opposing team to scare this kid permanently from kicking in an NFL game.”

    And how would that make different him from any other kicker in the NFL? You act as if Stephen Gostkowski, Josh Brown, and Jay Feely do MMA training and wrestle wild bears in the offseason. Also, when was the last time you saw a 275-pound NFL player take a run at the kicker after the play was over? I think most NFL players could think of better things to do with $50,000 than rough up a kicker.

  12. Might be inexperienced and all, but hes still probably better than the crap show we’ve had at the kicking position in Green Bay the past few years! And I’m a lifelong Packers fan.

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