Two more players have been released by the Detroit Lions: cornerback DeQuan Menzie and kicker Havard Rugland (also known as "Kickalicious"). Neither move came as a big surprise, and the Lions are now down to 78 players. That means three more have to be moved off the roster before Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.
Rugland is definitely one of the more notable cuts so far because of his popularity. He joined the Lions in April after a tryout that he really earned thanks to a trick-shot YouTube video that went viral. The Norwegian came to Detroit with no American football experience, yet he earned a contract and went on to play quite well in the Lions' first three preseason games, going perfect on field goals (3-for-3) and extra points (2-for-2).
Rugland quickly became a fan favorite because of his unique path to the NFL, and he gained international attention as he tried to win the Lions' kicker competition and become the man to step in for Jason Hanson. It was quite clear from the beginning that David Akers would have had to really slip up or suffer an injury for Rugland to end up making the team, and since neither of those things happened, the kicker competition officially ended on Tuesday.
Hopefully Rugland will catch on with another team and get another shot to play in the NFL, because he does deserve it. Considering how little experience he had coming in, it's pretty remarkable what he managed to do in his time with the Lions. That said, it's no surprise that the Lions have decided to go with the six-time Pro Bowler as their starting kicker. Rugland's story is quite amazing, but the Lions are banking on a healthy Akers returning to his Pro Bowl form rather than gambling on someone with no regular season experience. I know many people aren't happy with that, but the Lions are just more comfortable with the man who has kicked in Super Bowls and playoff games.
As for Menzie, he was claimed off waivers by the Lions back in May. With so many players ahead of him at cornerback, there was never really an expectation that he was going to make the team, so the Lions went ahead and released him before Tuesday's deadline.