Report: Detroit Lions among teams linked to UFL sensation Jake Bates after 64-yard FG

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Rising star Jake Bates — a kicker for the Michigan Panthers of the UFL — is already attracting interest from NFL teams after his unbelievable weekend.

The Detroit Lions are among the teams being linked to Bates, according to a report.

With his team trailing 16-15 in the final seconds on Saturday, Bates was given a chance to be the hero from 64 yards out. He delivered.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker owns the record for the longest made field goal in NFL history, as he nailed a 66-yarder in 2021. While Bates’ clutch field goal over the weekend was a couple yards shorter than Tucker’s kick in 2021, any non-NFL kicker who drills a 64-yard attempt figures to have a good shot at landing on an NFL roster.

That could be what the future holds for Bates, even despite the fact that he hadn’t attempted a field goal since high school before his kick on Saturday. During his collegiate athletic career, he played soccer before switching to football and becoming a kickoff specialist. His background makes it safe to assume that he has always had a phenomenal leg, but few could have predicted this.

Earlier in his football career, Bates earned deals with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans, but he never made an NFL roster. Now, he’s getting a chance to make a name for himself in the UFL — a league that is in its first season after a merger of the XFL and USFL.

The Lions do have veteran kicker Michael Badgley on their roster. He made all four of his field-goal attempts last season, though he did miss a couple of extra points. Perhaps the team is looking to bring in some competition at the position.

Detroit is looking to remain relevant in the Super Bowl conversation after reaching the NFC title game this past season. If Bates ends up getting a chance to kick for the Lions, he could find himself playing a key role for a contending squad.

For now, the overnight sensation will look to continue his success in the UFL and help his squad have a strong season.

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