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NFC West: Niners Sign K Cundiff


Don’t fret San Francisco 49er fans, help is on the way.

According to multiple sources, the team signed former Washington Redskins kicker Billy Cundiff on Tuesday to compete against the struggling David Akers, who’s botched 12 of his 42 kicks this season.

“He’s thrilled with the opportunity to be in a position to help the team in any way he can this postseason,” said Paul Sheehy, Cundiff’s agent. “It’s a great opportunity, with a great organization.”

Head coach Jim Harbaugh announced the news following the team’s NFC West clinching game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, pitting the Niners (11-4-1) in the NFC’s No. 2 seed. But they don’t seem to have as much confidence building behind their veteran kicker as they head into the most important time of the year.

The 38-year-old Akers is only 7 of 13 from distance (40-49 yards out) and, most recently, missed wide left twice from that range in Sunday’s 27-13 season-finale win against Arizona. He also missed a chip shot that would have beaten the St. Louis Rams in overtime earlier this year, but the team had to settle for their only tie of the season.

Meanwhile, Cundiff hasn’t kicked in a game since his release from the Redskins on Oct. 9. He previously misconnected on 5 of his 12 field goal attempts to start the season. But fortunately, he will have another chance to compete for a roster position heading into the NFC division playoff game on Jan. 12 at Candlestick Park.

“If we had two on the roster at the same time, then they can kick in practice,” Harbaugh said. “And that’s an option. That’s a possibility. I think there are three options. We go forward with David. We bring in a new kicker. Or, we have two and let them compete for the job. We’ll make that decision as we go.”

Cundiff is widely remembered for the missed field goal in the Baltimore Raven’s AFC championship game against the New England Patriots last year. It was just a matter of time before he was cut in the offseason.

Cundiff will serve on his sixth NFL team in 10 seasons. He also played with New Orleans, Cleveland and Dallas.

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