Following a five point loss to Green Bay in the first round of the playoffs earlier this month it was easy to criticize any and all of the Eagles miscues. One player that came under scrutiny, and I must admit I was frustrated with him myself, was placekicker David Akers. Akers in unlikely fashion missed two field goals from 41 and what seemed a chip shot for him from 34 yards. Akers is the 17th most accurate kicker in NFL history. Kicking for him has become second nature.
After the loss it was evident that something beyond football was on his mind. Safety Quintin Mikell reiterated multiple times in post game interviews that Akers was “dealing with a lot” but would not elaborate much further. This past weekend we discovered what had been plaguing our place kicker.
Akers 6-year-old daughter Halley had a malignant cyst in her left ovary that was removed in the week after the game. The cancer scare was quite a shock to the Akers family but the doctors believe they have removed the entire malignant tumor. Halley expected to make a full recovery was in Hawaii this week to share in the Pro Bowl festivities with her family.
“It was just kind of a smack of reality," Akers told the Philadelphia Inquirer, later adding: "They used the word tumor or cyst or growth. And you're like, 'OK, what does that mean?' Cancer is what that means.”
Akers is a class act and has been a Philadelphia staple for 12 seasons adorning the midnight green. He has been a constant team leader and a much needed veteran presence on a young team. Akers enjoyed another All-Pro season in 2010 leading the league in scoring and was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl. He is a solid professional and would not allow his family problems to be the reason for his missed kicks versus Green Bay.
Regardless of Akers not allowing his family problems to be an excuse I cannot even begin to imagine being able to focus on just a game while my 6-year-old daughter is facing cancer. My apologies go out to David Akers, Halley, and his family for even criticizing his play before knowing the full story. As phans we have to learn to realize when the game is just a game.