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Bears DT Akiem Hicks returns to practice after mysterious absence

Between an injury and other concerns, it has been a choppy preseason for the Bears’ star defensive tackle.

Akiem Hicks has 37 sacks going into his 11th NFL season.
Akiem Hicks has 37 sacks going into his 11th NFL season.
Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks will practice Wednesday after leaving practice after a few minutes Tuesday.

“There’s no update,” coach Matt Nagy said. “He’s back today. That’s the only thing that matters.”

When pressed twice for an explanation of the bizarre scene when he exited the field, Nagy replied, “No update.”

It has been a choppy ride for Hicks, 31, since the end of last season. He is in the final season of a four-year, $48 million contract, and agent Drew Rosenhaus has said he wants an extension to keep him with the Bears to the end of his career. He carries the fourth-highest salary-cap hit this season at $12 million.

That came after Hicks reportedly was given permission to explore trade possibilities in the offseason while the Bears made cost-cutting moves.

When training camp began, Hicks refused to speak to the media and still hasn’t.

This is the second time he has had an unusual absence. Coach Matt Nagy omitted him from his pre-practice report on injuries when he was out July 29, then declined to give an update until the next morning when he said Hicks had a sore foot. Nagy said he didn’t issue notice on the injury because it, “wasn’t a big deal.”

Hicks has been essential to the Bears’ defense since signing in 2016 and has 27.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and 156 tackles.