Jake Bates explains why he signed with the Detroit Lions

In his first exposure to local media, Jake Bates explained why he signed with the Lions.
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With a 64-yard game-winning field goal in the UFL season opener for the Michigan Panthers, kicking at Ford Field, Jake Bates immediately landed on the radar of the Detroit Lions and of course Lions fans.

Of course he couldn't be signed by an NFL team until the UFL season was over, and amid interest from multiple teams the Lions signed Bates to a two-year deal. He'll now compete with Michael Badgley to be the Lions' kicker during training camp.

The mid-June, post OTAs, signing means Bates had yet to to talk to reporters who cover the Lions. That changed when John Maakaron of SI.com secured Bates as a guest on the Lone Wolves podcast

Of course the most pertinent question for Bates is why he signed with the Lions.

Jake Bates explains why he chose to sign with the Lions

Bates' answer to why he signed with the Lions, given he kicked in Ford Field for the Panthers and got exposure to local fans, isn't too surprising.

"Detroit really felt like home, even outside of all that stuff. It just felt good," said Bates. "And, there's no real feeling, there's no real words to describe what that feeling is. It just felt good there. The people there were awesome.....I definitely felt the love, and I'm super, super excited to be in such a football-heavy city that loves the Lions and supports the Lions. And, I just can't wait to be a part of it."

Bates also spoke about the good vibe he got upon paying a visit to the Lions.

"When you walk into the building, just the feel of it, the culture that the coaching staff has brought in and the buzz around the city, the excitement for the team,” Bates said. “There’s so many intangible things that go into it with the feeling around the Lions right now. Obviously last season was awesome for them, and I just can’t wait to get up there and help any way that I can to hopefully do well for this city.”

It seems the Lions did what it took to beat the competition for Bates by going to a two-year deal with him. He was asked about if that second year sweetened the deal, Bates avoided a direct answer and went with all the expected sentiment.

"I think there was a lot of things that went into it,” Bates said. “There’s a whole thing that after everything that happened and we went through that whole process, my agent and I sat down—and he was super helpful through everything—there’s just a bunch of different things. Every situation is different. That’s just where we felt most at home, most comfortable.”

We'll see if it's a genuinely equal and open competition, but Bates should get every chance to beat out Badgley and be the Lions' kicker this season.