From Comcast SportsNetSANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- San Francisco 49ers placekicker David Akers said Thursday he received death threats on Twitter and closed the account.Akers received the death threats late last month, but is unsure at the number of posts directed at him because he did not go further back on his account to see how many."It was Twitter stuff. I got off there, so I won't deal with that anymore," Akers said Thursday.Once he initially saw them, he reported it to team and NFL security personnel. The 49ers said they were aware of the situation, and so was the league."I didn't go back and look any further," Akers said. "I hadn't been on there for weeks, so I didn't go back and look at any old ones after that. I don't take anything lightly. You really can't. I went through the proper people and what they felt like was safe."It was Akers last season who came to the defense of teammate Kyle Williams when he faced threats following two costly fumbles in the NFC championship game, a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants.The 38-year-old Akers also revealed Thursday -- when newly signed kicker Billy Cundiff practiced alongside him in what has become a competition -- that he underwent double hernia surgery last February following his All-Pro season.Akers then went to see the same doctor in Philadelphia after a Nov. 25 game at New Orleans this season to have injections after the area flared up when he fell during practice working on kickoffs.Unlike 2011, when he made 44 of 52 field goals, Akers has been in a slump this season. He is 29 for 42 on field goals.He missed overtime kicks twice against the Rams this season, with the 49ers losing at St. Louis and tying at home. Akers had a field goal blocked in a loss at Seattle on Dec. 23 that Richard Sherman returned 90 yards for a touchdown.He missed two more wide left in a home victory against Arizona in the regular-season finale last Sunday before bouncing back to make two.Akers began the season by making a 63-yarder in a season-opening win at Green Bay in which the ball bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights."It's a game, it's a business, it's my career, but it's not who I am," Akers said of football. "I would definitely give that 63-yarder back to make the two kicks against St. Louis. People talk about my demeanor being down, listen, I take my job seriously. I feel when I miss kicks I let the team, the organization, the fans down. I take it personal."
NEW YORK - Scenes from a celebrating clubhouse, late Wednesday night:
*As champagne flowed and was sprayed to every virtually corner of the visitor's clubhouse, plots were being hatched.
Some mischevious players gathered to plot out their plan of attack and select a new victim.
Once all teammates had been targeted, the focus shifted to others -- preferably the nicer dressed visitors.
Principal owner John Henry, dressed in a suit, was spared - both out of decorum, and, one senses, self-preservation. In past years, someone like Kevin Millar might have entertained such a notion, but this group lacks that same sort of bold figure.
Then, finally, the group spied manager John Farrell being interviewed across the way. The group -- mostly pitchers -- assembled and then circled the manager before finally dumping bottle after bottle of champagne on Farrell's head.
But this display went beyond prank. There was a genuine affection for the manager as the surrounding players whooped and hollared and the the bubbly flowed.
"He's a fighter,'' remarked Mookie Betts. "He instilled that in us. You fight to win.''
Torey Lovullo, who managed the team in Farrell's absence last year and has been a close friend for years, was overcome with emotion.
"I told him I loved him,'' Lovullo said. "For what he's done, to come out on the other side health-wise....he's the leader of this team. It's very satisfying for all of us that have been behind him.''
Players messed his hair, patted him on the back, and Farrell, with a huge smile, stood and -- literally -- soaked it in.
For the past few days, Farrell had gone to great lengths to turn the focus away from his personal story -- one that saw him beat back cancer a year ago -- and turn it back to the players.
Hours before the clinching, Farrell had deflected a few questions about his own story, insisting he wasn't the centerpiece to what had taken place.
But for a few minutes Wednesday night, he was.
*While there were prominent veterans celebrating a division title — from 40-something David Ortiz and Koji Uehara to team greybeards such as Dustin Pedroia -- it was hard not to notice the number of young players under 26 who form the Red Sox’ foundation.
Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada are all young and still improving.
With Ortiz headed to retirement, Uehara eligible for free agency and uncertainty surrounding others, it's clear that the young core will form the nucleus of Red Sox teams for years to come.
The organization's hope is that that same group will help ensure against the up-and-down trajectory of recent seasons -- last, first, last, last and now first again.
"I think the way baseball's going these days,'' Henry told the Boston Herald, "if you don't have good young players, you're in trouble.''
"Looking ahead,'' added Pedroia, "we've got a lot of young players who are just going to get better.''
With the Bills 0-2 and sinking slowly in a morass of dysfunction last week, Rex Ryan was anything but his corny, wise-cracking, false-bravado-bringing self. He was subdued before the Bills took on the Cardinals.
Now, with the Bills having spanked Arizona and the Patriots up next, Rex is back at it with the erratic, putting forth an eyebrow-raisingly bad Bill Belichick impersonation to start the week then parachuting into a conference call with Julian Edelman posing as a Buffalo News reporter.
He’s the guy at the house party knocking over the chips and drinks at 9 p.m. and wondering where the motherscratching karaoke machine is because he wants to SING!!
Asked to account for the behavior change from last week to this, Rex’ verbatim response was a look into his addled mind.
“I was still myself, I think just part of it. This week, look guys, we know who we’re playing. When you look at the ESPN deal, I think they’re ranked number one---I don’t know. Like I said, they’re number two, but I don’t think we’re ranked number one so---look, we know the task is going to be a big one. The quarterback thing, yeah you got to be prepared and you actually have to be prepared for three different guys. They’re no dummies, they’re leaving it out there, they can know who it is, I get it. They’re certainly not going to do us any favors.”
Give that a quick re-read.
My verbal syntax and wandering trains of thought aren’t evidence of an ordered mind either, so I do empathize with Rex. But neither am I the head coach of one of 32 entries in the NFL, a pretty high-profile league in which an ordered presentation from the guy in charge is usually a positive.
I spoke at length with Tim Graham – who really does work for the Buffalo News – during our Quick Slants Podcast this week.
Rex’ constant insistence on his own authenticity feels to me like a misdirection. He chooses who he’s going to be and how he’s going to be each week. That’s the only consistent thing about him, other than the fact that he is an eminently likable guy specifically because he is so vulnerable.
For a guy that wants to projecting an image of a guy who just doesn’t give a s***, he spends a lot of time thinking about this stuff.
“I learned a long time ago, you got to be yourself in this league and that [acting like Bill Belichick] wouldn’t have worked,” Ryan explained. “If I tried to be like Bill Belichick that would never work for me, just like, not that he ever would, but if he’s going to try to be like somebody else, that ain’t going to work for him. And so, at least one thing we have in common is the fact that we know you better be yourself in this league and look, I think it’s hilarious when he’s on there because that’s who he is but it’s great and he does it better than anybody else. Some guys that try to copy that style, they’re phonies. Belichick does it, that’s who he is. [Gregg] Popovich is probably the closest thing in the NBA. Like those guys are classics but that’s who they are and they’re fantastic and I think the record speaks for itself but you talk about a consistent guy, Bill Belichick is the most consistent guy there is and I try to be consistent, albeit in a much different way.”
Consistent in his inconsistency. Great fun at parties. No way to go through life as an NFL head coach.