NFL Oldies: Akers Signs with Lions, Woodson Calls Himself Ancient, Bears Miss Urlacher
As NFL free agents find new teams in this offseason, some veteran players remain unemployed. Former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed landed on his feet with the Houston Texans but his fellow safety/cornerback Charles Woodson is still waiting by the phone.
So is former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Fortunately for former San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers, who had an inconsistent 2012 season, he signed with the Detroit Lions on Friday, following in the footsteps of the team’s 21-year kicker Jason Hanson. They’ll be tough shoes to fill as Hanson was one of the league’s best kickers of all time.
Akers, 38, has endured the same success as Hanson, bringing a 69 percent of attempts from 2012 (a career-worst year) to Detroit. His best years may be behind him as this came in 2002 when he hit 88.2 percent.
For the Lions, 2012 was a disappointing year and change is coming from some offseason additions including running back Reggie Bush. The player has a 1050½ over/under for this season’s total rushing and receiving yards while his new team is 35 to 1 to win the Super Bowl.
While Akers and Reed are moving forward, what’s next for some other NFL senior citizens?
Woodson Calls Himself Ancient
Cut by the Green Bay Packers in March, Woodson doesn’t have a team and at 36, he knows his age could be the enemy. He recently called himself ancient.
On Friday’s NFL AM, Woodson said, “I’m 36, so of course I’m considered ancient in the game right now, and teams are looking for younger players and trying to make their rosters younger. If you’re an older guy they kind of push you to the side, and they’ll maybe look at you much later on down the road, when I guess they figure they can get you much cheaper.”
As for his recent suitors, which included a brief flirtation by the San Francisco 49ers, there hasn’t been anything “substantial.” The Ravens had been rumored to have an interest in him as a Reed replacement but Woodson said, “I haven’t heard anything from Baltimore or anybody else for that matter.”
Meanwhile, the 49ers signed the younger model cornerback Nnadmi Asomugha, 31, this week.
For Woodson, he’s played the waiting game before in 2006 with the Oakland Raiders. The Green Bay Packers picked him up and he remained with them through last month.
The rest you could say is history. Had he remained with the Packers, he’d be sitting on a team with 12 to 1 odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl.
Bears Chairman Misses Urlacher
Last week, the Chicago Bears chairman of the board George McCaskey publicly admitted he’s sad Urlacher is gone from the team. They didn’t show the player the money and now there’s a large void.
McCaskey said via the Chicago Tribune, “I said going into the process I’d be heartbroken if he didn’t come back and I am. Our whole family is. Brian’s just been the face of the franchise, an outstanding Bear on and off the field. But we knew going into it that it was a possibility that it might be this result.”
Bears Nation is also sad about the loss and some rumors have been swirling the player could be signed later in the offseason. McCaskey has said he’s not part of the decision process to bring him back.
Meanwhile, the Bears have moved forward with new linebackers, adding troubled former Denver Bronco D.J. Williams and former Carolina Panther James Anderson. The team is also rumored to have an interest in drafting Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o.
As for Urlacher’s future, the Ravens are 23 to 10 to sign him, followed by the New York Giants at 5 to 2. The Bears aren’t part of the conversation with any odds but it’s still early.