Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Posted: 2:40 p.m.By Dave Zangaro
CSNPhilly.comEVESHAM, N.J. -- David Akers spent Wednesday morning the way hes spent about half of his mornings during this off-season. He drilled kick after kick through the goal posts and into the net that protects the road next to the Memorial Sports Complex in Marlton, N.J., just like hes done about three days per week since the season ended. This off-season is a peculiar one for the longtime Eagle, who just finished his 12th season with the team. Akers the Eagles all-time leader in points (1,323) and games played (188) has been working hard, but still doesnt know where hell be playing next season. He just knows it likely wont be in Philadelphia. Right now its so hard to speculate, but right now I would say 'no' if I was a betting man, Akers said about a potential return to the Eagles. But with how long the lockout is lasting and the craziness of the free-agency market, Im not saying 100 percent anything.Last season the 36-year-old Akers made 84.2 percent of his field-goal attempts, and his 32 successful kicks were third in the league. However, he missed a 41-yarder and a 34-yarder in the playoff loss to Green Bay, prompting head coach Andy Reid to say after the game, We can count. Those points would have helped.While Reid simply responded to a question about the two misses, the remark rubbed some the wrong way given that Akers' young daughter was dealing with a serious health issue at the time.
After the season, the Eagles placed the transition tag on Akers, which would have guaranteed him about 2.8 million, but Akers didnt sign the tag while he could. But what really made Akers future with the Eagles a longshot was when the Birds took Nebraska kicker Alex Henery in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Henery is the highest kicker taken since 2006. Thats just the way it is, Akers said of the draft pick. Its funny people talk about having draft parties and stuff, but for 12 years Ive seen my teammates get their replacements, and thats part of life.Akers has made 82 percent of his career field goal attempts and has gone to the last two Pro Bowls (five in his career). On Wednesday, Akers was on the artificial turf field kicking footballs in front of many of his likely-to-be former teammates. Eagles Trevor Laws, Jon Dorenbos, Jamaal Jackson, Jamar Chaney, Quintin Mikell and Minnesota Viking and Moorestown High School alumnus Albert Young did strength and conditioning drills on the artificial turf at the complex with trainers from Power Train Sports in Cherry Hill, N.J., while Mike Kafka, Jason Avant and others worked on passing drills with trainers from 7Deuce Sports in Medford, N.J. Mikell is in a similar situation to Akers'. Hell likely be a free agent, and saw the Eagles draft a guy who might be his replacement second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett from Temple. Obviously its business, Mikell said. I dont feel like Im owed anything by the organization. Id like to be back, but if its not in the cards, its not in the cards.Akers meant a lot. Hes had a lot of success here, but if its his time to go, hell go somewhere else and have a lot of success there too. I know hes been working hard. Hes looking good, in shape.While Akers plans to have a successful season in the NFL with some team, he doesnt know which team it will be. He said he didnt have a chance to talk to any teams or see which teams are interested because of the lockout.I use it as a normal off-season for myself, just to get prepared, Akers said. Ill plan for football until theres not football. Akers hopes that the lockout is nearing its end and hopes that recent talks about a deal getting closer are true and not rumors, but hes not optimistic. Im not optimistic about anything anymore as far as that stuff goes, he said. Its an emotional roller coaster ride. I think it could be done in days to weeks, then I hear people talk about an eight-game season or not a season at all, so I just say, what happens, happens.Nothing, honestly, surprises me in this league anymore. If tomorrow someone says there is going to be no more NFL, it wouldnt surprise me.E-mail Dave Zangaro at firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated: Frank: Most overrated and underrated Eagles: WRs Vick gives commencement address to graduates
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011