It was already the assumption that long-time Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks would be moving on after this season, what with his clear early-season desire to stay, and then nothing at all happening on the extension front. Given the Bears’ history in uncovering depth on the interior, and Hicks’ inability to stay on the field two of the last three seasons, that probably made the decision easier for them. A bummer considering how fun Hicks has been at times, but it happens.
It was also a bummer that an ankle injury kept Hicks off the field for the finale today in Minnesota, though it sounds like there is a little more to that story:
If Matt Nagy's comments about Roquan Smith and Akiem Hicks from Friday felt off to you, it's because there was more to them.
Hicks didn't practice last week. But he also wasn't at Halas Hall. It started with an argument.
My story (as more news awaits):https://t.co/nnNZtyDZkl
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) January 9, 2022
Apparently Hicks had been away from the team all week after a “heated and ugly” argument with defensive line coach Chris Rumph during and after the Giants game last week. It’s not entirely clear what the dispute was about, but it has been an understandably frustrating season for Hicks, and frankly everyone associated with the organization.
You can read The Athletic piece for more on Hicks, his time with the Bears, and his season. But I’d be careful not to turn this into a situation where an organization is quietly dumping on a player on the way out the door. Hicks has been a beloved Bear for six years now, and I’m not interested in jumping on him tonight. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this story soon enough, including hopefully from Hicks, himself.
We may also hear from Hicks about his time with the Bears under the current regime, and why he isn’t the only veteran who seemed pretty unhappy on the way out the door. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of Bears players who have clearly really appreciated Matt Nagy and his staff. But sometimes you don’t hear the real truth until guys are out the door.
I’ll save the elegies for Luis, who can better speak to the impact Hicks has had in his time with the Bears (absolute MONSTER in 2018), as well as some of the challenges. I can only say that I enjoyed him on the team.
Either way, assuming Hicks is indeed moving on, then here’s hoping the 32-year-old can still get himself PAID in free agency. Both for himself, and for compensatory pick formula purposes. Surely a team will bet on him staying healthier and resuming his impact status, right …
In the meantime, focus shifts back to the Bears’ desperate need to make a change at head coach and in the front office. Will they actually do the reasonable things this time around? UPDATE: They actually did it! Both Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are out.