Hope Spring Eternal: Kyle Long, Akiem Hicks Enter Offseason With Positive Vibes

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Hope Spring Eternal: Kyle Long, Akiem Hicks Enter Offseason With Positive Vibes

Analysis and Commentary

Akiem Hicks may be only 27 years old, but he does already have four games of playoff experience under his belt (New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots).

New England made it to the AFC title game at the end of Hicks’ 13-game stint with the team, but a loss to the Denver Broncos kept him from a Super Bowl appearance.

And during his first year in Chicago, Hicks was the Bears’ Defensive Player of the Year, but he clearly still wants more.

In fact, that seems to be something that was on Hicks’ mind during the most recent  Super Bowl matchup between the Falcons and his former team:

The Bears didn’t have much in the come-from-behind win department last season. But then again, they didn’t have much in many facets of the game. It’s one of the reasons why the team finished 3-13 and owns the third pick in April’s NFL Draft. Even still, Hicks is dreaming on the day when the Bears are the kind of team that can’t be counted out no matter the score.

That was probably never going to be the case for the Bears and their -120 point differential in 2016, but if the Bears do become that team in the not-too-distant future, Hicks will likely be a major part.

He was the Pro Football Focus’ top-rated Bears defensive lineman after a career year (in which he set new career highs in sacks (7) and tackles (36)). And even though he is only under contract for one more season, he could be in line for an extension. If Hicks repeats his 2016 season, there will be no reason not to make that kind of deal happen for both sides. Heck, there is an argument that the Bears should try to extend him before the 2017 season even happens.

But Hicks wasn’t the only Bears player who had a future Super Bowl on the mind.

Offensive lineman Kyle Long, the most outspoken member of the Bears, weighed in with a flurry of tweets earlier this month:

There is confidence, then there is … well … whatever you call the extreme version of confidence that Long is exuding.

The sports world has seen its fair share of great turnaround stories, and the NFL is set up for them to occur annually. But for the Bears to do what Hicks and Long are openly dreaming about will take more than a few tweets.

GM Ryan Pace is set to embark on a critical offseason.

And when he’s done, head coach John Fox — who will be in year three of a four-year contract — will be in charge of mixing the ingredients to hopefully cook up the Bears’ first winning season since 2012. Let’s hope that pair gets the job done in the offseason, lest the tweets from Hicks and Long (and maybe even this post!) look foolish in hindsight.


Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation Bears, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.