Monday, January 31, 2011

David Akers' anguish

Turns out David Akers might have had just a little more on his mind than football during the Eagles loss to the Packers in that NFC playoff game.

You might remember Akers missed two field goals in the game, which the Eagles lost by five points.

What was pretty well known among the team and media is that Akers had suffered some fairly substantial financial setbacks in dealing with an investor from Texas.

What almost no one knew was that Akers privately was going through a very different kind of hell. His 6-year-old daughter was undergoing some very serious medical tests. She had a cyst on her ovary. While it turned out not to be malignant, she had part of her ovary removed and will face a long road of medical tests on the path to revovery.

Akers handled his hell in private.

Which makes the comments of Eagles coach Andy Reid after the game even more puzzling.

I have no idea if Reid was aware of what Akers was going through. Given what happened after the game, I would hope that’s not the case. Coaches almost never point out a single player after such a gut-wrenching loss. And no one follows that creed more than Reid, who manages to meet the media all the time and say exactly nothing - other than the fact that he has to do a better job putting players in position to make plays.

But Reid pretty much threw Akers under the bus after the game, pointing to him and the two missed field goals as a key element in the Eagles’ loss, which they were.

Part of this was Reid defending his decision to kick a field goal at a crucial point later in the game. He said he put it in the hands – or maybe rather the foot – of his All-Pro kicker.

Then he mentioned how “we can all count,” an obvious reference to the fact that the Eagles lost the game by five points and Akers missed two field goals.

I’ve stopped trying to figure out Andy Reid.

Except for this. Reid knows a little bit about being a very public figure enduring private anguish. The problems of Reid’s sons and their various brushes with the law are well-known.

You would think that being the case, Reid would have done more to shield the greatest kicker in Eagles’ history, a guy who saved this team’s – and Reid’s - bacon again and again this year, one of the best of his career.

I feel for David Akers. I am glad his daughter’s diagnosis turned out to be non-malignant. That does not make her ordeal any less daunting for a 6-year-old kid.

And it does not make the comments and actions of Andy Reid any easier to understand.

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