Monday, January 23, 2012
Day after: 49ers' Kyle Williams stands tall
By Mike Sando
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- No one in the San Francisco 49ers' locker room was better qualified than kicker David Akers to discuss Kyle Williams' critical fumble in the NFC Championship Game.
"I was that guy last year," Akers said Monday from the 49ers' locker room.
A year ago, Akers missed two field-goal tries during the Philadelphia Eagles' 21-16 playoff defeat. His daughter had just been diagnosed with a tumor, his financial life was in turmoil after a fraudulent investor ran off with his money, and the Eagles were about to move on without him.
As Rick Reilly detailed recently, Akers bounced back with a record-setting year in San Francisco. So, when Williams' overtime fumble helped deliver the New York Giants to Super Bowl XLVI at the 49ers' expense, Akers offered perspective.
"I say this and I say this in the truest way: We win as a team and we lose as a team," Akers said. "There are times I miss and somebody picks me up. As a brother out there, I just say we love him and he'll be back to do bigger and greater things."
Coach Jim Harbaugh said he wasn't aware of the shoulder injury Williams suffered before the fumble. Williams said the injury wasn't a factor in his fumble.
Akers also pointed to the difficult weather conditions as a factor. And he was most demonstrative when asked about threats directed toward Williams via Twitter.
"I think it's ridiculous," Akers said. "Get a grip on what life is about. He went out and put his soul out there and that is what he does. He was not trying to do anything other than make an incredible play for his team. Mistakes happen. We all make them. But when you are out there truly battling to do the best you can, my hat goes off to anybody who does that."
Williams took full responsibility for his mistake after the game, fielding all questions from a large media gathering. Akers called that display "a great show of character."
Williams was accountable again Monday.
"You bounce back and move through it," he said. "You have to take full responsibility, which I do."
Williams said he did not think he muffed an earlier punt, however. Officials ruled the ball touched Williams' knee area.