Lions move quickly to replace retired Hanson.
The Detroit Lions have moved quickly to find a replacement for retiring kicker James Hanson, by agreeing a deal with David Akers.
Hanson ended his 21-year league career and record breaking stint with the Lions on Thursday, announcing his retirement from the game.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers released Akers last month after suffering a decline over the past 12 months. Having undergone a double hernia operation in February last year, he slipped to just 29-of-44 attempts last season, his lowest percentage since 1999.
Despite aggravating the injury during the last campaign, Akers has told the press since that he is feeling good and will be looking forward to a new challenge.
He set NFL records in 2011 amongst which was his mark of 44 field goals made from 52 attempted. That led many to believe at the franchise that he would be set for an extended stay in San Francisco, but his struggles last season dampened those plans.
He remains a leading kicker and will be hoping to benefit from the new set-up in Detroit to return to the kind of kicking form he enjoyed in the years previous to last season.
The 38-year-old told the Associated Press:
“I’m excited about the opportunity to play for the Lions organization. I’m not trying nor would I be able to fill the likes of Jason’s shoes. He is and always will be a legend as far as I’m concerned. That being said, it will be an honour to attempt to follow in his footsteps. It will be great to be near my extended family as we strive to a championship.”
He will undoubtedly face a tough task in following up Hanson’s achievements in Detroit, with the 42-year-old becoming the first player to play 300 games with one franchise, finishing with 327.
Hanson is third on the career scoring list at 2,150 points and third in field goals with 495. As Akers pointed out, those are certainly big shoes to fill, but he will be positive ahead of starting a new chapter in his career in Detroit.