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Eagles Hold Special Place In Akers' Heart

Over the last two seasons, the Eagles have had to face off with most of the cornerstones of the team's success throughout the first decade of Andy Reid's tenure as head coach. Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook have all lined up on opposite sidelines from their former team, and on Sunday, one more beloved former-Eagle will become, for a day, the opposition. David Akers was named to five Pro Bowls in his time with the Eagles and he is the franchise's all-time leader in points scored. Simply put, Akers, now a San Francisco 49er, is the best kicker in Eagles history.

"Listen, it's tough, but unfortunately it's part of the game," said head coach Andy Reid. "I have the highest regard for David Akers. You're talking about the greatest kicker in Eagles history; really, I mean I think that's probably a slam dunk. And the guy – he's a great person and he did a tremendous amount in the community and I'm sure he'll be welcomed back with open arms. When you're together for 12 years like he and I were, then you develop a relationship there and I hold (him) and his wife and his family in the highest regard."

On a conference call with Philadelphia reporters, Akers said that he still cherishes the time he spent in Philadelphia and he harbors no ill will after switching teams in the offseason.

"All I can say is that Philadelphia has been a huge blessing in my life," Akers said. "I spend a third of my life there. Two of my children were born there, all three of my children have been raised there. I have so many friends that are almost like family to me. My residence is right across the river there in New Jersey. I just can't say enough for the organization, for the way they gave me an opportunity to make it in the NFL when so many other teams didn't, (for) teammates, and now dear friendships that I was able to develop being a part of the team, (for) coaches that have taught me so much and have spent so much time with me.

"Some people ask, are you bitter? No, it's part of the business. You come, you go, but Philly, that's where my home is. I will always be grateful and I will be back after the season."

And although Akers will be plenty familiar with the confines of Lincoln Financial Field, he said he will treat the Week 4 matchup as he would any other game.

"I just realized from the start of the season that I'm a 49er and this is just another game," he said. "Obviously, I'm going to where my house is and my family is, and I spent 12 years there, but I'm  just looking at it as another game. Last week (in Cincinnati) I went through a similar thing, traveling back near my home town, so you kind of learn to put the emotions away and realize that you're no longer going to be on the sideline with all the Eagles on it."

Akers, of course, was a free agent this offseason. With Akers' status with the team in limbo, the Eagles selected Nebraska's Alex Henery in the fourth round of April's draft, essentially paving the way for Akers' departure. While Akers has made all seven of his field goals thus far in 2011, Henery was converted five of his six field goal attempts, with the lone miss coming on an end-of-half 60-yarder.

"So far he's done a great job," Akers said of Henery. "He looks really good on film. Obviously they made a very good decision on who they picked."

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