Saturday, November 28, 2015

Akers still getting his kicks

Kicker David Akers has played in 172 games with the Eagles; safety Quintin Mikell is next with 108.

Akers still getting his kicks


Kicker David Akers has played in 172 games with the Eagles; safety Quintin Mikell is next with 108.

He has been with the Eagles since 1999, 4 years more than Mikell and center Jamaal Jackson, who were signed as rookie free agents in 2003.

The three are the only players remaining from the Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance in 2005.

The 35-year-old Akers has taken a long route to the NFL, but how did it all begin for him as a kicker?

The first time Akers kicked a football was his sophomore year at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Ky. Goofing around in a pickup field, he ran five yards and made a 45-yarder according to his friend's father, then a coach.

His first field goal in a high school game sailed through the uprights as time expired to defeat Shelby County, 3-0.

It wasn't until his senior year of high school when he attended Dick Pierce's kicking camps that he met coach and mentor Elden McVicker, who waived the $100 private lesson fee for Akers.

"He's very, very meticulous about it. He's pretty much a perfectionist," McVicker said. "If something's off, he's gonna work until it's back on. He's just that type of individual. Whenever you get a kid who's like that, you wanna help him as much as you can help him."

Akers was welcome to drive up to McVicker's property in Greenburg, Ohio, whenever he wanted, once in the middle of snowstorm, where the two shoveled away patches of McVicker's lot in order to practice until they got too cold.

A set of high school uprights were tucked inside the set of collegiate uprights in the middle of McVicker's 100-by-400-foot rectangular property, flanked by apple orchards on one side and twinplexes on the other.

McVicker would hold, unless he wanted to watch technique from up close. He filmed every practice session and reviewed alignment and target line with Akers. His ball has hook, so he aims 4 or 5 feet inside the left upright to leave him 13 feet of leeway on the right pole.

The uprights Akers honed his craft on were later blown down by a bad wind storm, said McVicker, who's entering his 46th season of coaching.

Akers worked at Pierce's camps as a counselor throughout his career at Louisville and was briefly a full-time staffer, too, traveling around the country for Pierce's camps.


Read more on Akers in Thursday's Daily News.


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