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49ers release 6-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - On top of the NFL one season, out the door the next.
The San Francisco 49ers released six-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers on Wednesday, ending a two-year run of record-breaking highs and frustrating lows. General Manager Trent Baalke thanked Akers in a statement, calling the kicker a "true professional who represented himself and this organization with class."
"We wish him, and his family, all the best," Baalke said.
The left-footed Akers appeared in all 32 regular-season games and five playoff contests the past two seasons, including San Francisco's 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. He connected on 73 of 94 field goal attempts and all 78 extra points.
Akers told The Associated Press he's content with San Francisco's decision and is feeling well after having a surgical procedure last week. He underwent double hernia surgery in February 2012 then re-aggravated the area during the season when he slipped on the field during practice.
In 2011, Akers set NFL records with 44 field goals made and 52 attempted. He also tied the league mark for the longest made when he kicked from 63 yards in the season-opening win at Green Bay last year, bouncing the ball off the crossbar and through the upright.
But Akers made just 29 of 44 attempts last season, his lowest percentage since 1999. That included two potential game-winning kicks in separate overtime games against the St. Louis Rams, leading to a tie and a 49ers loss.
Akers, now 38 years old, particularly struggled from long range. He finished the season 9 of 19 on attempts from 40 yards or more. The 49ers even brought in Billy Cundiff to compete against Akers before the divisional-round playoff and NFC championship game.
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Akers anyway. Akers hit the left upright on his only attempt in the NFC title game and made three field goals in the Super Bowl. However, he missed a 39-yard try that was called back because the Ravens were flagged for running into the kicker.
After a Nov. 25 game at New Orleans, Akers returned to the doctor in Philadelphia who performed his sports hernia surgery to receive an injection. He also suspended his Twitter account because he said he received a death threat.
Akers played 12 seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles before signing a three-year deal with the 49ers. He had been so steady his first season that many 49ers teammates publicly questioned why the Eagles didn't re-sign him.
Akers' 297 points over the past two seasons are the most in the NFL during that span. Akers has played in 221 games and connected on 367 of 453 field goal attempts and 521 of 527 PATs for 1,622 career points.
Akers also is a four-time Associated Press All-Pro.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
By David Keene
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