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Harbaugh: Niners will bring in kickers

The SportsXchange

A day after San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh displayed a lack of confidence in kicker David Akers with both his management of the game against the Arizona Cardinals and then vocally after, he confirmed the team would bring in veteran kickers to compete for the postseason kicking job.

"Yeah, we'll probably bring a few in and have some tryouts and some competition," Harbaugh said.

Billy Cundiff will be one of the free agents getting a look, according to ESPN.com and the San Jose Mercury News. ESPN.com also reported that Justin Medlock would get a tryout.

There is the possibility Akers could be cut, or the team could add another kicker to the 53-man roster and let them compete for the job.

"Well, if we had two on the roster at the same time, then they can kick in practice. And that's an option. That's a possibility," Harbaugh said. "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."

It's a move the team has considered since late November, when it brought in both Nate Kaeding and Cundiff for workouts. Neither was signed and Harbaugh said the workouts were only as a precaution as Akers was dealing with a pelvis injury at the time. Kaeding has since signed with Miami.

Akers' 69 percent field goal conversion rate ranks No. 30 in the NFL and his 13 misses are the most in the league, so Harbaugh's announcement hardly comes as surprise.

The dismal season, however, came out of the blue.

A year ago, Akers broke the franchise record for points in a season (166), the NFL record for most points by a kicker in a season, set the NFL record for field goals in a season (44) and was named to his sixth Pro Bowl. In the season opener this year against the Green Bay Packers, he tied the NFL record with a 63-yard field goal.

However, since hitting his first five field goals to open the year, he's just 24 of his last 37.

"We want to make the right decision," Harbaugh said. "David's certainly in it. He's done a lot of great things for us. He's made a lot of great kicks, a lot of big kicks.

"And he knows it, we know it, those kicks in the games, you've got to make those kicks. There will always be a level of competition around at any position to find who gives you the best chance to win the next game. Knowing the competitor that Dave is, I don't think he'll have a problem with that."

Cundiff, 32, went 7-for-12 on field-goal attempts early this season with the Washington Redskins before he was released.

Medlock, 29, made seven of 10 attempts for the Carolina Panthers in 2012. He was cut in November.
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