Bears

Akiem Hicks: 'It hurt' considering Bears tenure could end

Bears

Akiem Hicks has been the heart and soul of the Bears defense for the past six seasons. He’s a dominant force on the defensive line, and shows just as much passion on the field as he does off the field. Hicks is also a thoughtful and reflective man. On Friday he reflected that as he returns to the field this Sunday, there’s a chance he could be gearing up for his final five games as a Chicago Bear.

“I think that’s the unfortunate reality,” Hicks said. “The unfortunate reality of our business sometimes is that no matter what you do, no matter what situation you put yourself in, all good things come to an end. I could throw every cliché I want at it. But you know that is the circumstance we find ourselves in.”

He was also honest when discussing his emotions as he turned over the possibility that he could be moving on next season.

“At first it hurt, and then I understood. Ultimately, I respect the decisions that are made. Some of them you want different things for yourself. But that’s just not how the business works.”

Hicks is playing on the final year of a four-year contract extension, and hasn’t had the season he wanted. Various injuries have held him out of five games, and he was frank when he said that in his eagerness to get back on the field, he rushed back too soon, causing him to reaggravate his injuries. Despite the injuries and his advancing age (he turned 32 in November), Hicks was also adamant that he’s still got gas in the tank, estimating he’s got three or four years left in his career.

 

The million dollar question however, is, will those three or four years be in Chicago? According to Spotrac, the Bears will have $44 million in cap space next year. But they also have plenty of holes to fill on their roster. They’ll likely look for a new cornerback to play beside Jaylon Johsnon, and maybe a nickel corner too. There’s the question of who will play safety beside Eddie Jackson too, since Tashaun Gipson, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Deon Bush are all playing on one-year deals. Wide receiver is a similar story, as Darnell Mooney is the only man under contract for 2022 and beyond. Then there’s the question of what to do with Danny Trevathan and the second inside linebacker spot next to Roquan Smith. With so many questions to answer, it’s fair to wonder where extending Hicks would land on the Bears’ priority list.

While Hicks certainly would’ve liked to have an extension before this season began, he couldn’t say whether or not he and the Bears could reach a new deal next year.

“I don't think I'm even ready to answer that question, honestly,” Hicks said. “Because I put it to the back of my mind and it's something I had to do in order to approach this season appropriately, I had to put it to the back of my mind in training camp. I'm going to revisit that in January.

“But what I can tell you now is, I've appreciated these last six years playing here in Chicago. I would challenge you to find another person on this team that has bled and fought and lived and died with this team the way that I have. Whatever comes from that, I accept, but as far as right now, I'm just ready to play some more football.”

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