"This is like the Taj Mahal, compared to walking around with all the rats and cats" at the Vet, Akers recalled. "But it was our rats and cats, you know what I mean? The two fields that they put sod on top of asphalt, the old bubble [in the Vet parking lot]. It's definitely been memorable. It's been a great, great ride the whole time."
Special-teams coordinator Bobby April noted that even good kickers tend to bounce around, from team to team. Akers had a game with the Redskins in 1998, and was waived three times before finally sticking with the Eagles, but once he got here, he stayed.
"It's a tremendous tribute to him and his talent and his work ethic to have that kind of longevity," April said. "In today's world, to have it in one place is rare . . . I think the organization is lucky that they've had a guy who has been productive at a critical position. I don't say it's overlooked, but sometimes [I think it is]. I think he has led the team in scoring every single year he's been here . . . I'm sure it's been great for David, too, to play in one place and be appreciated by the organization. I think it's a mutual respect."
Kickers, April noted, rarely are drafted and developed by one team.
"They really have the process like 'The Grapes of Wrath' to get in," he said. "They've got to go through some rough roads to get in the league. Dave did, too. He went to three or four teams . . . It's never easy for those guys. They've got to do a lot of tough work in a tough environment. To make it that long is a real tribute to him and what he brings to the table. He is a real student of the game, and he has always kept himself in great shape."
Asante Samuel said he plans to appeal his $40,000 fine for banging helmets with Giants receiver Derek Hagan. Todd Herremans apparently does not plan to appeal his $5,000 fine for a cut block, illegal when a defender is engaged with another blocker. Herremans and Mike McGlynn said on the play Herremans was fined for, the scheme called for McGlynn to make the initial contact, then to slide off the defender, handing him off to Herremans, but McGlynn didn't get his hands free in time, creating a violation. Herremans said he was surprised that Giants defensive end Chris Canty denounced him as a dirty player, but he said he didn't plan to worry about it, unless Canty was playing for the Bears this week.
Defensive end Juqua Parker (hip) hasn't practiced this week and seems unlikely to play . . . Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon left practice yesterday with what the Eagles said was an abdominal strain . . .
Bobby April reaffirmed his faith in Jorrick Calvin, who will go back to kickoff returning following the season-ending neck injury suffered by Ellis Hobbs. Calvin lost the job when he bobbled two returns in the rain at Washington. "I think he's still learning and getting better and improving," April said. "He's a talented guy. He has to take that experience [of making mistakes] and just capitalize on it being a learning experience . . . We're excited about the guy. We think the guy is really talented" . . .
New corner Brandon Hughes, signed from the Giants' practice squad, said he was the scout team player mimicking Jeremy Maclin last week in practice. Someone pointed out that Maclin ended up with nine catches for 120 yards. "I gave 'em the best look I could, considering I'm not a receiver," Hughes said. "They just wanted me to run fast, and that's what I did" . . . April yesterday compared Bears returner Devin Hester to Minnesota Fats. Not in girth or billiards ability, but in that "he really knows where to go with the ball . . . he's playing a couple shots ahead." *