Follow the Leader: David Akers
Throughout his 16 years in the NFL, David Akers was a leader on and off the field. A holder of numerous records with the Eagles and 49ers and a five-time Pro Bowler with two Super Bowl appearances, Akers still made time to fight off the field for his and his fellow players’ rights. As a player rep who assisted in negotiating the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2011, Akers valued his time as a rep, and how it opened his eyes to what other player advocates had sacrificed for his generation. Akers looked up to his fellow rep James Thrash, whose fearlessness and willingness to ask the hard questions inspired him to do the same. He still remains close with Thrash and his former teammates Matt Stover and Troy Vincent.
Even with all of his accolades, Akers’ career was far from easy. In just a few short years, Akers fought through three different surgeries, while continuing to play in Pro Bowls. His remarkable career came to an end in 2013 after a single season with the Detroit Lions.
Akers recalls his experience leaving the game a difficult one, characterizing his transition as going from the pinnacle of his career to essentially unemployed. He didn’t let his difficult situation hold him back, but took it all in stride best expressed through a phrase he took to heart: “Football is the game of life, you’re gonna get knocked down, but you have to get up again.” And that’s exactly what he did.
After a record-breaking career in the league and serving as a player rep for four years, Akers has moved on to other aspirations. He currently spends his time in the real estate market working with rentals in Nashville, which Zillow has named the hottest city to move to in 2017. He also became a licensed minister in 2013, does corporate speaking, and enjoys training kids through his Kicking Academy. Although not currently in operation, he started the Kicks for Kids Foundation with wife Erika which aims to help sick kids through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. At its peak, the foundation raised one million dollars towards its cause.
Looking back, one piece of advice he wants to give to current players is to learn the history of the game, especially who were the veterans that came before them. He recalls a time during a minicamp with the Eagles where teammate Vincent would “destroy guys” when running the punt return team, showing the rookies how hard they had to train. Akers stresses that it’s important to earn the respect of peers and vets, especially through work ethic.
Akers has three children with his wife Erika. Luke, 15, and Halley, 12, are both soccer goalies, while Sawyer, nine, plays flag football. Rather than push his children in any one direction, Akers hopes he can just be a parent and facilitate their passions, which in the Akers household means an obsession you’re willing to suffer for because you can’t live without it.
Akers believes his time as a player rep truly set him up for his and his family’s success. In his eyes, being a leader and holding leadership positions helps guide a family to a similar thought process. “You have to set goals as player reps, then figure out how to put together a blueprint and how to achieve it - no different than what you do with your family,” Akers says.
To read more about David Akers, visit his website at greenakerspromotions.com.
Tags Former Players