Jake Bates became quite a story following his 64-yard field goal in week 1 to seal the win in the final moments against the St. Louis Battlehawks. He added 2 more kicks from distance in week 2 making field goals from 62 and 52 yards.

Bates already had NFL interest following week 1 after he demonstrated his range making it from 64 yards twice as he was iced the first time. Both kicks went down the middle with plenty of distance. According to Tony Paul of Detroit News, The Detroit Lions were among the NFL teams to inquire about him following week 1.

While the interest being drummed up for Bates from NFL teams is great for his career, it is actually against the rules as NFL teams are not allowed to contact UFL players during the season. NFL teams are allowed to contact UFL teams about their players, but they cannot directly contact or sign players under a UFL contract until after the conclusion of the UFL season.

Panthers’ head coach Mike Nolan recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that some NFL teams have been trying to ignore this rule.

“Outsiders don’t touch our players too much during the season,” Nolan said per the Detroit Free Press. “With Jake, somehow some of them are trying to make efforts to do that, to be honest with you, and hopefully that backs off a little bit because that’s not — they’re not supposed to do that. And maybe that’s rumor, but I had heard something the other day and I kind of said, ‘Well, let’s make sure we nip that in the bud,’ because, look, I want Jake to do well and I want him to get a chance. I’d love to see him in the NFL and no one right now can do him any good, so the best thing I can do is keep those people away from him currently, because I’m not helping Jake if I don’t do that.”

Nolan was also asked if it were NFL teams or agents who were making an effort to contact Bates to which he responded, “I think both a little bit.”

The fact that NFL teams are breaking rules pertaining to the agreement between the UFL and the NFL is a testament to the potential ceiling that Jake Bates has. It is an amazing story that despite not having kicked field goals in college, he has NFL teams breaking rules to try and get a headstart on getting a chance to sign him 2 weeks into the season.

As exciting as the story is, for Bates’s sake it will be better if they cease to break this rule as it can only serve as an unnecessary distraction for him and the team. There are still 8 regular season games left in which he will be evaluated on his ability to kick consistently.

“But the big thing is for them to stay focused and in my eyes, I treat them kind of like they’re my own kids,” Nolan stated. “I tell them, I say, look, there’s nothing much that anyone can do for you right now on the outside, so if you don’t have an agent you don’t need to go get one currently, and you certainly don’t need to go out and be entertained currently, you need to continue to kick well because this can all go away very fast if things change for you. So keep your focus, and that’s the same for all of them.”

Experience Optional: Jake Bates’ 64-Yard Field Goal Draws Interest From NFL Teams Including the Detroit Lions

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@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink
Jonathan Clink will work as UFL News Hub's primary correspondent covering the Michigan Panthers for the 2024. He has written over 250 articles covering the Canadian Football League prior to joining UFL News Hub. Clink is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has a background in several other sports as well having played soccer, basketball, and hockey competitively.

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