Al Thompson
David Akers kicking for the Eagles. He is a 49er now and the Super Bowl may very well end up on his foot. Photo by Todd Bauders Contrast Photography

NEW ORLEANS: Don’t think for a minute that players who leave NFL teams don’t keep tabs on their former teams.


Some of that is to see if the team was wrong parting ways with them, other reasons are mostly for relationships formed while with their former team.


In the case of former Eagles Pro Bowl kicker David Akers – now with NFC champion San Francisco 49ers – staying in touch with his former team is a little of both. And he says it’s all good.


When former Eagles head coach Andy Reid lost his son Garrett to drugs last summer, Akers said he talked to his former coach after the tragedy struck.


“I reached out to Andy When Garrett passed away,” Akers said at Media Day at the 49ers hotel.

“Obviously we were at training camp and we actually corresponded a good amount between that time. I felt a lot for Andy, Tami and the rest of the family. I’m sure he’s disappointed in the way the season went, I couldn’t imagine burying my son and then going out and coaching an entire season. My hat goes off to him for being able to go out and find the strength to do that. Obviously the wins and losses didn’t go their way. I was pulling for them to have success. Chip Kelly has done a great job in the college ranks and I wish him well now that he’s the head coach.


“I’m sure Andy will turn that Chiefs program right around.”


Akers said he knew nothing lasts forever and in the case of Reid, his staff and himself, change was for the better.


After Akers was released following the 2010 season, a campaign that ended with a Wild Card Playoff loss to eventual champion Green Bay Packers, a game in which Akers missed two makeable field goals; he latched on with the 49ers.


Akers’ 2011 season was a record-breaker earning him his sixth trip to the Pro Bowl.


The 2012 was not so kind to the Lexington, Kentucky native. Akers started off strong but faltered, making just 29 of 42 attempts during the regular season. Akers also missed a 38-yarder in the NFC title game.


Where there games this season Akers would like to have back?


“This year?” Akers exclaimed. “Yeah, a lot!”


Most people think when a kicker is in a slump, it is a mental problem. Akers says not so.


“Actually there is a lot more technique that goes into it between our whole unit,” Akers said. “(The season) started off so well. It ended up one of those up and down years. Physically it started off with surgery, rehabbed all offseason, got into training camp, started training camp real well. The first preseason game I played in I hit 55- and 50-yarders,the first regular seasongame I hit a 63-yarder…I thought ‘wow, this is going to be another great season’ then the season went up and down, up and down…good game, bad game. It has been very disappointing.”


Akers did not make any excuses or point the finger at anyone but himself. He said the season can still have a great ending obviously in the Super Bowl.


Playoff games are often decided on a late field goal. All three New England Super Bowl wins were decided by a field goal, their first a 48-yard walk off kick by Adam Vinatieri.


“If we can win this thing on Sunday, it would be one of the most ironic years to have,” Akers said. “Especially after starting the season so well then hitting such a low point, then to end on such a high team victory…it would be like ‘how does this happen?’ I didn’t know if I was going to be around week to week at one point. I just tried to stay the course. Other than the three blocked kicks, I believe we would have made every single one if we were using high school goal posts. We’re not off by a lot. We kicked well in practice. We kicked well in pregame. What do you do? I’ve been doing this for 16 seasons, 15 regular seasons I played in, 14 credited…it’s not like the wheels fell off. I’ve just got to hone in. I’ve lost a good amount of hair on the top of my head over this and more and more it’s fallen into my helmet each and every week.”


49ers fans hope he has a little hair left for this Sunday.

1 Feb 13 - NFL, Ravens - Al Thompson - No Comments