A day after 42-year-old Jason Hanson retired from the NFL last week, the Lions signed 38-year-old David Akers as his replacement.

"We tried to get a little bit younger at the kicker position," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew joked after Hanson's retirement news conference Tuesday.

Akers will be just the Lions' third full-time kicker in the last 33 years, and though there's no chance he holds down the job as long as his predecessors -- Hanson spent his entire 21-year career with the Lions, replacing Eddie Murray, who kicked for the team in 1980-91 -- Mayhew said he's a security blanket at an often tough-to-fill position.

"Another solid veteran, a guy with a lot of experience and playoff experience," Mayhew said. "He's been kicking outdoors his whole career. We think he'll get a boost from kicking inside, so I think he'll be a good player for us."

A six-time Pro Bowler with the Eagles and 49ers, Akers is coming off one of the worst years of his career, when he missed 13 of 42 field goals and battled a hip injury most of the season.

With Akers healthy now, Hanson said he expects a big bounce-back season from his replacement.