K David Akers hits a 63-yard field goal during Monday's practice

Posted Aug 20, 2013

After struggling through the 2012 season with an abdominal injury, Akers showed he's back to his old ways with a 63-yarder in Allen Park

In the grand scheme of things, one made field goal in training camp practice doesn't mean a whole lot.

But when that field goal is a 63-yarder, into a slight breeze, from a kicker who's been battling back from an injury all season, it's significant.

"It's a play every team has, it's just a bench alert for a long field goal at the end of the half type of deal," said Detroit Lions kicker David Akers, when asked about the 63-yard kick he made in practice Monday.

"(Holder) Sam (Martin) was like, 'You got to hit this.'

That's exactly what he did, and should quell any fears from Lions fans about the strength in his 38-year-old left leg.

The six-time Pro Bowler is coming off a subpar season in 2012, when he made just 29 of his 42 field goal attempts. Akers has said all along that the injury played a big part in his season last year and he now feels more like he did in 2011, when he made a record 44 of his 52 attempts.

The 63-yarder Monday came at the end of a sequence of kicks for Akers that were all makes. Akers said he had a good feeling when they dropped the ball on the opposite side of the 50-yard line because the kick before he had cleared the net behind the portable goal posts from 54 yards.

"That's a poke," Akers said. "That (54 yarder) probably would have been good from 63 to 64 range. I drove the (63 yarder) a little more than that one."

The kick tied Akers' own NFL record of 63 yards, a record he shares with Jason Elam, Tom Dempsey and Sebastian Janikowski.

"I'm definitely getting back to where I'd like to be," he said after practice. "Still getting stronger. Even as the weeks have gone by, I'm not sure how much you've seen, but you hear a little better pop and I'm trying to get in the weight room more."

Akers is battling Havard "Kickalicious" Rugland to win the team's field goal kicking duties this season, but it's always been Akers' job to lose. He's been nothing but perfect in the preseason, hitting on all three field goal attempts. Rugland has hit all three of his attempts, too.

Akers and the Lions have had a very specific rehab plan in place since he was signed to replaced the retired Jason Hanson in April. Akers is coming off an abdominal injury that bothered him all of last season and required surgery in the offseason.

"In my opinion, I went to the best surgeon who does core injuries, and that's Dr. Bill Meyers in Philly," Akers said. "I kind of stand on the shoulders of the Lions training and strength staff and their doctors here and corresponding with Dr. Meyers and their decisions together."

What the two sides came up with was a progression to get Akers back. He didn't kick at all during the spring and worked his way back into camp.

"He looked pretty good," head coach Jim Schwartz said of his kicker Monday. "We have monitored him through training camp. We didn't just throw him out there every day, particularly early in training camp.

"He has developed into a good rhythm. We knew he would, he's a veteran player and we had a good idea where he was with the injury and things like that. He's made steady progress through camp and looks to be just about full speed."

Akers has held up his end of the bargain with sticking very close to the plan and the Lions are seeing the benefits now.

"So far I've progressed as they've said," Akers said. "I just keep climbing the summit."