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Harbaugh nears decision on newcomer kicks windy stadium

  • San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, right, and team consultant Dr. Harry Edwards, center, watch kicker Billy Cundiff, left, attempt field goals during an NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. Cundiff signed a one-year contract Tuesday with the NFC West champion 49ers to compete with kicker David Akers to handle duties in the NFC divisional playoffs Jan. 12. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SANTA CLARA — Billy Cundiff took a field trip to San Francisco on Monday, and it wasn't to the zoo — though the 49ers' kicking competition has begun to resemble a circus in some ways.

Speaking with reporters in late morning, Jim Harbaugh said that Cundiff and David Akers would be heading to Candlestick Park later that day to alternate kicks in the stadium's infamous shifting winds. But as first reported by Comcast SportsNet, photos later emerged that showed Cundiff — and not Akers — kicking at Candlestick in front of special teams coordinator Brad Seely and special teams assistant Tracy Smith. Long snapper Brian Jennings and holder Andy Lee also participated.

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Earlier, Harbaugh had acknowledged that the kick-off had a "leader in the clubhouse." To the surprise of no one who has observed Harbaugh's interaction with the media, he would not divulge which player held the edge.

The competition, which began at practices last Thursday and Friday, will continue at least through Tuesday. It may extend a lot longer than that. Harbaugh said there is a good chance both kickers will be on the roster for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, and that it's conceivable both men would be active for the game.

Imagine the left-footed Akers trotting onto the field for kicks from the left hashmark, and the right-footed Cundiff taking his turn for kicks from the right hash.

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