Akiem Hicks’ time in the New England Patriots organization was short, but successful.
He played 13 games said played a key role in helping the Patriots get to the AFC Championship Game. So while Hicks should have nothing but fond memories of his time playing for Bill Belichick, a minor scolding from the Patriots head coach is something that sticks out.
“When I first got there and I was getting some of my first in-game action,” Hicks explained in a conference call with the New England media. “I had made a play and I gestured towards the crowd or somewhat of a semi-celebration, and I got back to the sideline and Bill came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, we don’t need that.’ I was like, ‘OK, I guess no celebrations after big plays.'”
Well, that’s certainly one way to introduce the new guy to The Patriot Way™.”
So what did Hicks gain from that experience, anyway?
“Celebrate with your teammates was the measure I took from there,” Hicks said.
Hicks said he had nothing but love thinking back to his time with the Patriots organization, and it sounds like his former head coach has favorable feelings toward his former player.
“He’s strong, physical, very powerful, explosive guy, hard to block – hard to block in the running game, hard to block in the passing game,” Belichick said of Hicks in his meeting with the media earlier in the week. “He’s got good power, knocks the pocket back. But, he’s quick, he can get to the edge, he can make plays with his quickness, as well as he power and his strength, plays hard, tough – good football player.”
Belichick’s brand of tough love has a fatherly vibe to it and it’s no surprise that Hicks thrived in that environment. It only makes sense that Hicks’ NFL career has taken off since his time with the Patriots and I’m glad the Bears are the beneficiaries of it.