Lions plan to release kicker Michael Badgley

Detroit News

Then there were two.

The Detroit Lions trimmed their kicking competition Thursday, just days before the start of training camp, by releasing veteran kicker Michael Badgley, according to a league source. The news was first reported by NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.

Badgley, 27, signed to Detroit’s practice squad in early October after being released by the Chicago Bears and was thought to be the leader in the clubhouse heading into camp. He was one of three kickers to try field goals for Detroit last season. He appeared in the final 12 games and went 20-for-24 on field goals with a long of 53 yards.

Barring another addition, the battle for starting kicker will be between Riley Patterson, who kicked for the team in 2021, and former XFL kicker John Parker Romo. The two went back-and-forth during portions of the offseason program that were open to the media, with Badgley remaining largely dormant in those sessions for undisclosed reasons.

Badgley will still be owed the $350,000 in guarantees owed to him from the one-year deal he signed with Detroit in March.

The Lions have struggled to find stability at the kicking position following the departure of stalwart Matt Prater after the 2020 season.

Matthew Wright, Randy Bullock and Zane Gonzalez initially were set to compete for the kicking job in 2021, but that job ultimately went to Austin Seibert, who later suffered a season-ending hip injury and opened the door for Patterson to take over the starting role in the back half of the season. Aldrick Rosas and Ryan Santoso also attempted field goals for Detroit that year.

Patterson was waived by the Lions in late August last year after Seibert came back to reclaim the starting job. But with Patterson having departed to Jacksonville, the Lions turned to Dominik Eberle in Week 4 after Seibert was forced out with a groin injury. Eberle was released after missing a pair of extra-point attempts against Seattle, and after the Lions signed Badgley, Seibert was also let go.

The Lions then signed Romo out of the XFL and traded an undisclosed draft pick for Patterson over an 11-day span in May.

Romo, 25, was 17-for-19 in 10 appearances with the XFL’s San Antonio Brahmas last season. He was 7-for-7 from 40-49 yards and 2-for-3 from 50-plus with a long of 57 yards.

Patterson, 23, was 30-for-35 as Jacksonville’s starter in 2022. He was 18-for-19 from inside 40 yards, 10-for-13 from 40-49 yards, and 2-for-3 from 50-plus with a long of 53.

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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