Aug 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Lions kicker Havard Rugland (3) during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Håvard ‘Kickalicious’ Rugland may not currently be on an NFL roster, but that doesn’t mean the Norwegian media is dropping the story. With news that Rugland worked out for the Green Bay Packers, the story is clearly not over. One Norwegian newspaper picked up my post yesterday exploring the possibility of Rugland getting a chance on a practice squad as a result of a special provision in the collective bargaining agreement that allows for an extra practice squad player as long as he is an international.
Another media outlet, NRK, contacted me directly for a Q&A. You can check it out here.
What’s that? You can’t read Norwegian? That’s OK, neither can I. Here is how it looks in English:
"How good are the chances for Håvard Rugland to be included into Detroit Lions’ practice squad?"
I am not aware of an NFL team ever keeping a kicker on their practice squad but the international player provision makes it more of a possibility with Håvard Rugland.
"Is there a possibility that Lions will use the “international player” rule to keeper Håvard on even further?"
Roster spots are very valuable to NFL teams, even roster spots on the practice squad. However, the international player provision allowed by the collective bargaining agreement between the players and league could make it possible for the Lions, or another NFL club, to carry Rugland on their practice squad without counting towards the normal practice squad maximum of eight players. From my understanding, the international player provision is an option but it is a rule that isn’t used often.
"How much would do you think Lions wants to keep Håvard in the club?"
The coaches and players all speak highly of him. I’m not sure anyone knew what to expect when he first arrived but he proved to be a quick learner and a hard worker. There is more work to be done before Rugland is ready to be an NFL kicker on an active roster but if the Lions feel he can get to that point by next season and they can keep him around on the international player provision, I think they should keep him.
"The current kicker, David Akers isn’t the youngest man in NFL. Do you think Lions are considering keeping Håvard in the team (practice squad) “just in case”? Also seeing Akers being slightly injury-prone."
Akers isn’t young but he is still three and a half years younger than the Lions’ previous kicker, Jason Hanson. Akers has been a very consistent kicker, although he did battle injuries last year. He looks completely healthy now so the Lions are correct in having a lot of confidence in him. Whether or not the Lions keep Rugland should come down to how they feel about his potential, not based on worries about Akers.
"How would you consider the interest around Håvard Rugland at the moment? Specifically from other American clubs, Canadian clubs etc."
The other 31 clubs had a chance to claim Rugland after the Lions cut him but he went unclaimed. He is free to sign with any club but I don’t expect him to have an opportunity until after rosters are set this weekend. I believe his best chance is though the practice squad as an international player. There has been a lot of fan interest, however. He became a fan favorite with Lions fans and his story has been featured on some of the national websites.