The “Kickalicious” trick shot kicker who became a minor YouTube star might soon be taking his skills to the pros.
Havard Rugland grew up in Norway, a country where American football isn’t quite as popular as it is here in North America. He didn’t make it as a professional soccer player back home, though, so he decided to pursue one of the only other lines of work in which his strong kicking leg could provide him with ample income.
Rugland shot and edited a video of himself performing seemingly impossible trick kicks with an American football, including nailing a field goal from 60 yards (the NFL record is 63) and kicking a ball into a canoe sitting in the middle of a lake. The video has been viewed more than 2.6 million times.
The Cleveland Browns just said goodbye to long-time kicker Phil Dawson (he’s headed to the San Francisco 49ers after 14 years in Cleveland) and the team is reportedly mulling over Rugland as a possible replacement:
Per source, #Browns worked out video trickshot artist Havard Rugland of Norway today to replace Phil Dawson..Rugland is 6-2 and 245..
— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) March 21, 2013
Rugland isn’t the first person to earn a tryout with an NFL team on the strength of a YouTube highlight video. Just last year, the Kansas City Chiefs signed trick shot quarterback Alex Tanney to a developmental contract.
The biggest impediment in Rugland’s job search so far has been that he’s used to taking a long run up to the ball before he kicks it. He’s also really good at kicking it out of the air, as he demonstrates in his highlight video. Both of those motions are commonplace in soccer, but are never part of an NFL kicker’s duties.
Rugland has worked with former NFL kicker Michael Husted to hone his game for the gridiron.
“I believe I’ve got a pretty good chance to get a contract,” Rugland told the LA Times. “If not right away, I will get one because I really do think that I’m at least going to be good enough and I just have to be better than the people I’m competing with and make them believe in me and go with a guy without too much experience.”