Tony Dejak / Associated Press file, 2011

Kicker Phil Dawson (4) has kicked twice at Candlestick Park, and kicked in only one playoff game in 14 seasons with Cleveland.

49ers sign placekicker, kick-coverage specialist

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 - 1:14 am

SANTA CLARA – A 49ers special-teams unit that stumbled in 2012 received reinforcements Tuesday for 2013.

Veteran kicker Phil Dawson and Marlon Moore, a Sacramento native who excels on coverage units, both signed one-year deals.

While David Akers was struggling through the worst season of his career last year, Dawson, 38, had the best season of his NFL career.

Kicking for the Browns, Dawson made 93.5 percent of his kicks, never missed from beyond 40 yards and made his first Pro Bowl in 14 seasons. Dawson kicked in only one playoff game in 14 seasons in Cleveland and said the 49ers' success was one of the reasons he chose San Francisco.

Other factors included the area and the opportunity to rejoin special-teams coordinator Brad Seely, who was in Cleveland in 2009-10.

"When you start mixing all that together, even for an idiot like me, it's a pretty easy decision," Dawson said.

Earlier this month, the 49ers parted ways with Akers, 38, who made only 69 percent of his field goals and blew potential game winners in two overtime games against the Rams. Akers, who struggled with a sports hernia during the second half of the season, was particularly bad from beyond 40 yards, making only 9 of 19.

Dawson, in contrast, was 13 of 13 from 40 yards and beyond, including 7 of 7 from 50 yards and beyond, and he missed just two field goals last year.

Dawson has only kicked twice at Candlestick Park, but once he moves his family to the Bay Area, he said, he'll monitor the weather forecast.

"And when it's supposed to be bad days, you can find me in there," he said. "That's part of my job. I don't necessarily have an opponent across the line of scrimmage I have to study and be prepared for, but I do need to know the conditions I'm going to face."

Moore signed with Miami in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State. He stuck around because of speed and toughness on special teams. He was the Dolphins' gunner on punt coverage last year, and he has returned punts and kickoffs.

The 49ers are not expected to retain free-agent return man Ted Ginn, who has visited both the Bengals and Panthers over the past week. Another returner from 2012, Kyle Williams, is recovering from a torn knee ligament.

Moore also started two games at wide receiver last year, and he has 12 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns in three seasons in Miami.

"I'm coming in here with an open mind, and I'm ready to work for whatever need they want me to fill," Moore said on a conference call.

The 49ers have another Sacramento-area native on the roster, offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins (Elk Grove High), who played with Moore at Fresno State. A third player, linebacker Larry Grant (Foothill High), is a free agent.

Moore said his father, Ernie, passed away in 2008 and that being signed by a local NFL team was special.

"My dad wanted me to continue working and focusing on my dream, because it was also his dream," Moore said. " … I give a lot of love to my father and give a lot of love to my mother and brother for where I'm at now."

Boldin's back – Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who was on a charity mission in Senegal when he was traded to the 49ers, is expected to take his physical at Stanford Hospital today. That will complete the transaction that sends a sixth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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