Bears looking to fill big hole with Akiem Hicks

After the standout defensive end missed the Packers game because of a hamstring injury, the Bears are expecting him to play Sunday against the Lions at Soldier Field. Hicks is listed as questionable.

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With Akiem Hicks (96) in the game, the Bears held Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) to 39 yards on 20 carries (2.0 avg.) on Nov. 16 at Soldier Field. After Hicks left with a hamstring injury, Cook gained 57 yards on 11 carries (5.2 avg.).

With Akiem Hicks (96) in the game, the Bears held Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) to 39 yards on 20 carries (2.0 avg.) on Nov. 16 at Soldier Field. After Hicks left with a hamstring injury, Cook gained 57 yards on 11 carries (5.2 avg.).

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Akiem Hicks craves recognition and enjoys the attention as a premier member of the Bears’ defense — but not the kind of attention he got last Sunday night as he tested his sore hamstring before the game against the Packers at Lambeau Field.

“All eyes are on you,” the defensive end said. “Every coach is looking from the side like, ‘Is he going to play?’ The ‘Sunday Night Football’ camera slides down and gets in your mouth. It’s an interesting moment, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to play to my capability, so I wasn’t a go.”

Hicks’ absence was sure to be felt, but not quite as much as it actually was. The Bears allowed touchdown drives of 75, 75 and 80 yards on the Packers’ first three offensive possessions and never were in contention in a 41-25 blowout loss.

“I had to deal with [being unable to play] and watching our team not playing as well as we wanted to — that was another tough aspect of it,” Hicks said. “But you’re going to win some and lose some, and that, unfortunately, was not our day.”

The Bears are expecting Hicks to play Sunday against the Lions at Soldier Field. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday and is listed as questionable.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s such a great player, [and] being able to have him out there is huge,” coach Matt Nagy said. “Just seeing him out there, his leadership. I think a lot of stuff goes unrecognized, what he does when he’s out there on that field. So we want to get him out there, and it’s good to see him out there.”

Hicks said he took it “extremely personal” that the Packers often ran where he normally would line up.

“Not just for myself, but for my guys,” he said. “[With] our defensive line, my personal opinion is we have one of the best rooms in [Halas Hall] because there’s always a nice vibe. We get along. We talk well to each other, and we’re not afraid to criticize each other and want the best for one another.

“So I take it personally when we don’t play as a unit up to the high standard we’ve set. I feel like I want to be on the field, that I need to be back on the field, and just keep pushing toward that.”

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