Jake Bates, Tomball soccer star who hadn't kicked a field goal in a game before 2024, signs NFL deal

Bates joins a special teams unit that already includes Rice alum and punter Jack Fox.

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Friday, June 21, 2024
Tomball's Bates, soccer star-turned-placekicker, scores NFL contract
From Tomball, to the United Football League, and now, to the NFL, Jake Bates scored a contract with the Detroit Lions.

Before 2024, Jake Bates had never attempted a field goal in a game. This week, he signed a two-year contract with the NFL's Detroit Lions, a team that played in the NFC Championship last season.

"I don't think it has completely," Bates told ABC13 via Zoom when asked if it's hit him yet that he's an NFL player. "I saw some friends from home, and they were celebrating it a little bit. That was the first time it really started to sink in."

ABC13 profiled Bates, a former soccer star, before his game in Houston with the Michigan Panthers of the United Football League. He said all he ever wanted was a chance.

After ranking second in the UFL with 17 made field goals, Bates signed a two-year contract with the Lions that could be worth $1.98 million. His agent, Marty Magid, told ABC13 that Bates' deal includes a $100,000 signing bonus and $150,000 guaranteed, plus a $50,000 roster and $75,000 workout bonuses. Bates' salary in 2024 will be $795,000. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter broke the signing news, sharing it with his 11 million followers on social media.

"My friends had a field day with that," Bates shared.

He also revealed some buddies have told him now that they have a friend in the NFL, they plan to select Bates in the first round of their fantasy football drafts.

"They were sending it in the group chat. I called one of my best friends, and he was crying. He was so happy. It's so cool to see the reaction from people who have been with me from the start," Bates said.

Before receiving a call from the Michigan Panthers of the UFL, Bates had started working as a sales rep for Acme Brick near his hometown of Tomball.

"There are a lot of days where it feels it's never going to happen," Bates recalled about the process of chasing his dream. "There are a lot of days where you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But good things come to those who work hard. What's done in the dark will come to light eventually - whether that be tomorrow or in five years."

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