Havard Rugland, whose "Kickalicious" YouTube video in Norway earned him tryouts with NFL teams, made two long field goals in his first NFL game Friday in the Detroit Lions 26-17 preseason win over the New York Jets.
Rugland, 28, made himself a legitimate contender for the Lions kicking duties after making second-half field goals of 49 and 50 yards in the game, according to the Huffington Post
, helping Detroit to victory.
"The way he worked in the offseason program, what he did in two weeks of training camp, and how he came through facing a real rush for the first time in an NFL game Friday night makes Rugland anything but a novelty act," said Mike O'Hara, columnist for DetroitLions.com
. "Call Kickalicious a bona fide prospect to have a career in the NFL."
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Playing in an NFL stadium full of fans is the stuff dreams are made of for Rugland, who worked for child protective services in Norway when, with the help of a friend, put together a video of trick kicks with a football last September that went viral and caught the attention of professional football scouts, according to The Associated Press
The video has now been viewed 4.5 million times as of last week, said the AP.
"I would not have this chance if not for the YouTube video," Rugland told the AP before his first preseason game. "But when I was at tryouts, I couldn't just show them a video link to get a job. I had to show I could kick."
Rugland, though, has to beat out longtime NFL veteran David Akers, 38, for the kicking duties. Akers made both of his first half field goals tries of 35 and 47 yards and is still listed as No. 1 on the Lions depth chart, according to the DetroitLions.com.
Rugland's new American teammates, though, have been impressed with the Norwegian's hard work and enthusiasm.
"Kickalicious is for real," The Lions' Nate Burleson told the AP. "He isn't just an Internet sensation."
Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford added through DetroitLions.com: "I think we're all happy to have him as a teammate. It's refreshing to see how much fun he's having. It's an awesome story, and the guy is a pretty darn good kicker."
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