49ers release six-time Pro Bowl kicker Akers


SAN FRANCISCO — 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.

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.

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 a 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.

The left-footed Akers later revealed he underwent double hernia surgery in February 2012 then re-aggravated the area during the season when he slipped on the field during practice. After a Nov. 25 game at New Orleans, Akers returned to the doctor in Philadelphia who performed the 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, connecting 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.

Scott announces he’s re-signed with Bills

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With the Buffalo Bills overhauling their defense this offseason, linebacker Bryan Scott was excited and relieved to find out he won’t be among the castoffs.

The 10-year NFL veteran will return to Buffalo after signing a one-year contract Wednesday, a week before Scott was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

He first announced the deal by posting a note on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon. Scott then confirmed to the AP that he had just signed the contract the Bills had sent him and planned to return the document to the team.

Scott has spent the past six seasons in Buffalo, where he has proven to be a versatile utility man. He’s split time at both linebacker and safety and been a regular on special teams.

He finished second on the team with four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, and he also forced and recovered two fumbles in 16 games last season, including one start. Overall, he has seven interceptions, seven sacks and recovered six fumbles in 87 games in Buffalo.