MIKE O'HARA

David Akers, teammates with nothing but great things to say about Havard Rugland

Posted Aug 27, 2013

Rugland, nicknamed "Kickalicious", had a positive impact on his teammates, coaches and Lions' fans

Havard Rugland, the Norwegian kicker nicknamed "Kickalicious," made a positive impact on fans and teammates from the time the Lions signed him in April. It didn't diminish when he was cut on Tuesday.

Even David Akers, who competed against Rugland and beat him out to be the Lions' placekicker this year, had good things to say about the positive energy Rugland brought with him.

"He enjoys and has a good time at what he's doing," Akers said after practice Tuesday. "He tried to learn a lot. I feel like he gave it everything he could. With that, he had a positive attitude the whole time. He enjoyed the experience.

"He has a lot of talent. We'll see where it goes from here."

Rugland, from Aalgaard, Norway, signed with the Lions as a free agent on April 11. The trick shots he performed on a YouTube video made him an instant hit with fans.

Rugland, 28, progressed steadily through the offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason games. He made all three of his field goal attempts, connecting from 48, 50 and 33 yards.

His form wasn't as consistent as that of a veteran kicker, and that resulted in some short kickoffs.

What was not lacking was Rugland's effort to improve, and his enjoyment of competing and interacting with his teammates. His popularity was evident when he made his first field goal in the first preseason game and his teammates swarmed him.

Akers, who is starting his 16th NFL season, helped tutor Rugland.

"If he can continue to try to get some preseason-type games in and get more consistent with form, the sky's the limit," Akers said. "His attitude is so great. He's just a wonderful person. I'm blessed to have called him a friend.

"It's sad to see a guy go, but ultimately we're trying to all fight for the same job. It doesn't guarantee anything, but I'll try to kick as well as I can Thursday."

Akers joked about an expression Rugland used for almost every situation.

"To sum it up, his favorite word was 'perfect;'" Akers said. "'Let's grab a bite to eat.' 'Yeah. Perfect.'

"I'd like to get a shirt that said, 'Perfect.' PU with a double umlaut over the top."