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January 10, 2013
Harbaugh sticks with Akers for playoff opener

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David Akers, who is in the midst of the worst season of his 14-career, has held off Billy Cundiff to be the 49ers' kicker on Saturday against Green Bay, Jim Harbaugh announced today. The 49ers signed Cundiff last week after Akers missed field goals from 40 and 44 yards in the regular-season finale against the Cardinals.

"He responded like a football player does," Harbaugh said of Akers and the six-day competition.

Harbaugh said that Cundiff would remain on the 53-man roster but probably would not suit up for the team's playoff opener against the Packers. Akers kicked a record-tying 63-yard field goal in Week 1 in Green Bay, but he has struggled from long distances since. He's missed 11 of 19 kicks from 40 yards or more and has a 69 percent field goal percentage on the season.

Only one full-time kicker, Green Bay's Mason Crosby, fared worse during the regular season.

Cundiff and Akers have been splitting practice repetitions since the 49ers started practicing on Thursday and Friday of last week. Before the Monday practice, Harbaugh said "a leader in the clubhouse" -- presumably Akers -- had emerged. Akers is the only one of the two who has kicked during a game inside Candlestick Park.

Cundiff took his first Candlestick repetitions on Monday afternoon.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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