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Bears DL Akiem Hicks wants to keep playing, but IR still an option

Hicks came off injured reserve to face the Packers on Sunday but is still playing through extreme pain in his left elbow. It remains in question whether he will play the Bears’ last two games.

Akiem Hicks wants to play the final two games, but it might be in his best interest to rest and let his elbow further heal.
Akiem Hicks wants to play the last two games, but it might be in his best interest to rest and let his elbow further heal.
Quinn Harris/Getty Images

It seems crazy, but someone would have to be at least a little crazy to play football in the first place.

So while the rest of the world wonders why on earth Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks would keep playing through incredible pain in his left elbow now that his team is eliminated from playoff contention, suiting up for the last two games makes perfect sense to him.

“It’s about the boys, man,” Hicks said Tuesday. “It’s about being out there with your guys. I love competition. I love riding with my guys.

“You would laugh to imagine some of the things that guys play through in this league. There isn’t a week that I can remember where my body felt 100 percent. It’s kind of customary. You’re used to playing through injury.”

Hicks dislocated his elbow in early October and went on short-term injured reserve with the hope of coming back for the stretch run and possibly the playoffs.

He was hurting throughout the 21-13 loss to the Packers on Sunday but looked reasonably close to his usual self and finished with four tackles and two quarterback hits.

“He played lights-out,” coach Matt Nagy said. “The plays he made, that was fun. We missed that.”

Hicks acknowledged being out of the playoff race “changes perspective,” and he’s willing to collaborate with the team to figure out the best decision for both sides. The choice is whether to play Sunday night against the Chiefs and next week at Minnesota or end his season by going back to IR.

“There’s no decisions made,” he said. “I’m brought here to play football, so when my number is called, that’s what I do. What comes after that, we don’t know. We’ll see going forward.”

Nagy indicated Monday that the team was on board with Hicks’ desire to keep playing and said being out of the playoffs isn’t a factor in whether he plays.

They could leave the decision up to Hicks, something he certainly has earned at this point in his career, but he’s open to discussing it.

“It’s very much so my body, [but] let’s just say the Bears have it on lease,” he said. “So when it’s time for me to play, that’s what I’m going to do.”