News Column

49ers Sign Kicker Billy Cundiff to Compete With David Akers

Jan. 2, 2013

Michael Harrington

It's been great to see our favorite ex-Eagle, kicker David Akers, mostly shine for the San Francisco 49ers, and we were looking forward to seeing him in the playoffs.

Whoops -- cue the vagaries of the kicker's life.

The Niners signed former Ravens and Redskins toe Billy Cundiff Tuesday to compete with Akers, who has been struggling.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday he might keep both kickers on the roster and open up a competition.

The 38-year-old Akers is just 29 for 42 this season. He missed two in Sunday's 27-13 victory over Arizona in the regular-season finale.

The 32-year-old Cundiff has had a typically peripatetic kicker's career -- he's on his sixth team in 10 NFL seasons. He was released by Washington on Oct. 9 after missing 5 of 12 field-goal attempts. He had a famous miss with Baltimore last season, whiffing on a potential tying 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the AFC championship game that sent the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl. He was cut shortly after -- by the Ravens' coach, John Harbaugh, Jim's older brother and a former Eagles assistant.

The NFL: It's a small world, after all.

Where it's at

Arizona, evidently.

Buffalo CEO Russ Brandon announced Tuesday that he's taking over as team president for 94-year-old owner Ralph Wilson (with Ralph's blessing), then promptly hit the road for the Grand Canyon State, where the odds are he'll talk to the Cardinals' cast-off coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton about the vacant Bills head coaching spot.

Of course, he may be planning on taking in the sights: Oh, look, the Fiesta Bowl is in Glendale on Thursday. Isn't Chip Kelly coaching Oregon in that?

Showing improvement

As Peyton Manning's understudy, Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler has mostly been handing the ball off or kneeling down in the victory formation to wrap up games.

The 6-foot-8 rookie out of Arizona State said he's gotten pretty good at taking a knee.

"I've got it down to where I'm taking only 1-yard losses. At first, I was taking 2-yard losses."

This article contains information from the AP.

Source: (c)2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by MCT Information Services

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