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UFL standout gets 2-year contract from Lions

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Jun 5, 2018; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions logo on the front of a podium before practice at the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The UFL is proving lucrative for at least some high-performing players that are successfully parlaying it into an NFL opportunity.

The Detroit Lions signed UFL kicker Jake Bates to a two-year deal, his agent Marty Magid told Adam Schefter of ESPN. Bates also received interest from the Green Bay Packers and Washington Commanders.

Bates quickly stood out in the UFL when he connected on a game-winning 64-yard field goal for the Michigan Panthers in the season opener. NFL teams immediately took note, considering that is just two yards shy of Justin Tucker’s NFL record. The attention was enough that their coach had to warn NFL teams against illegally contacting the kicker.

Bates becomes the second UFL player to land an NFL contract by virtue of his performance in the league. It may not prove to be a talent factory, but at least some players are making the most of the opportunity.

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