While the Eagles were preparing for a battle with the Green Bay Packers, David Akers was preparing for a much bigger fight. A fight with cancer. And he would have to watch from the sidelines.
Following a 21-16 loss in the wild card round of the playoffs, many fingers were being pointed as to who was “to blame.” One of those targets was Akers.
After missing two field goals and leaving 6 points on the board, it was easy for Joe-Schmoe to shuffle out the blame. The best kicker in Eagles history didn’t show up. We all know that football isn’t played in a vacuum, so no one can say if those points would have won or lost it in the end…but what we can say is that Akers certianly was not himself.
Eagles safety Quintin Mikell was quick to come to Akers’ defense alluding that he was heroic to even show up on the field that day. The comment was glossed over by many simply because the matter was kept quite.
No, not David Akers. His 6 year old daughter, Halley.
A kicker in the NFL requires some of the most mental toughness out of anyone who plays. Block everything out and focus on your job. The good ones are able to do it. David Akers is a GREAT one. But on this day, his mind was elsewhere and I’ll be damned if I say it shouldn’t have been.
If anyone has ever experienced cancer, whether it be first hand or through a family member, then I’m sure you’ll agree. I saw cancer rip through the body of my God-Father, shredding his weight and strength. He battled and he won…but not without the fight of his life.
It took a toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally. It took a toll on his family. It took a toll on his friends. When you’re fighting cancer, you rarely fight it on your own.
And we’re not talking about a 50 year old man. We’re talking about a 6 year old little girl.
“They used the word tumor or cyst or growth,” Akers told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “And you’re like, ‘OK, what does that mean?’ Cancer is what that means.”
The week following the playoff loss and admist all of the blame being tossed around, Halley had the cyst removed. But there is still plenty on his mind.
“I think a lot of it is the unknown for us, and still not knowing, still kind of holding on,” Akers told the newspaper. “You just don’t think this is going to happen to your kid.”
Nor should you. But when it does, your world stops. NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, OR WHAT YOU’RE DOING. David Akers is one of the best kickers in football history and his world got rocked.
Take care of your little girl and worry about football later. Who you play for, your next contract and putting a ball through some uprights means absolutely nothing compared to the health and well being of that little girl.
End of story.