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Lions sign UFL kicker Bates

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have signed all-United Football League kicker Jake Bates, who made three field goals from at least 60 yards for the Michigan Panthers this past season.

Detroit announced the move Tuesday, adding depth at a position with veteran Michael Badgley.

Undrafted rookie James Turner was released. Turner kicked for Michigan’s national championship team last season after transferring from Louisville.

The 28-year-old Badgley started last season on Detroit’s practice squad and replaced Riley Patterson late in the regular season and during the team’s three-game run in the playoffs.

Bates was briefly on the Houston Texans’ roster for less than two weeks in August 2023.

He earned another chance in the NFL a powerful leg, connecting on a game-winning, 64-yard field goal against St. Louis in last season’s UFL opener in March. He also made 62 and 60-yard kicks for the Panthers.

Bates, who is from Tomball, Texas, started his college career as a soccer player and played at Central Arkansas for two seasons. He transitioned to football in 2020 at Texas State, where he was a specialist on kickoffs for two seasons and transferred to Arkansas where he kicked off and was selected all-SEC in 2022.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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