David Akers has plenty of reasons to smile.
Plenty of players have come and gone during the past decade but one “seasoned veteran” has remained in Eagles green. On the final day of training camp at Lehigh who better to focus on than the Bird who has seen the most camps?
Just be sure to not call him old.
“I prefer tenured instead of old,” joked David Akers after a practice last week. “Seasoned veteran is another one I like.”
During his 11 years in the City of Brotherly Love, the 35-year-old Pro-Bowl kicker has embraced Philly as much as they’ve embraced him. Heck, the Lexington, Ky. native has even become a fan of all the Philly sports teams.
“After you’ve been here for a while you know some of the different athletes and when you become kind of personal with them you want to see them do well,” Akers said.
But don’t think that Akers is calling into 610-WIP or 97.5 The Fanatic when his teams don’t do well.
“I tend to take the athletes side… player’s give it what they have,” he said. “For most of the guys I know it’s always that they’re out there trying to show their best… and to bring home a win for the fans. That’s the most important object.”
The fans certainly have embraced Akers -- something rare for a kicker -- and the Eagles All-Time leading point scorer doesn’t take the support for granted.
“It’s a great, great element of training camp -- the fans being a part of it, being so close to the guys,” Akers said.
But he understands that even if a 54-yard field goal gets plenty of cheers the biggest thing fans do for players at training camp is to give them a boost -- especially guys who unlike Akers are out there hitting every day.
“The guys that are banging out there -- they’re getting knocked down and they’re beat up and somebody’s cheering their name, ‘oh that was a great hit,’” Akers said. “All of a sudden that adrenaline pumps up a little bit more and they’re able to continue on.”
Akers lists winning the NFC Championship at home and going to the Super Bowl as his greatest achievements on the field but don’t think he is satisfied with his career.
“Obviously it would be nicer to win the next one… we would like to be going down Broad Street with the Lombardi Trophy. That’s what our goal is.”
And while he tries to kick his team towards that goal Akers doesn’t take his place as the longest-tenured Philly athlete for granted.
“I’ve been here almost a third of my life. Hopefully I can stay a little bit longer. But we’ll just see how the season plays out. It’s been a wonderful ride so far.”
Each day of Eagles training camp NBCPhiladelphia.com will focus on different Bird trying to soar at Lehigh.