After six years with the team, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks might have played his last game with the Bears.
The team ruled Hicks out for Sunday’s season finale in Minnesota after he missed his third consecutive practice with an ankle injury. The injury is the same one he suffered against the Steelers in Week 9 that kept him out for six weeks. He returned to face the Vikings in Week 15 and, after missing the -Seahawks game while being on the reserve/COVID-19 list, play in the home finale. He played almost two-thirds of the Bears’ snaps against the Giants, recording two tackles.
During coach Matt Nagy’s tenure, few players have been more dominant.
“He did a lot of good things as far as affecting different offenses,” Nagy said Friday. “He creates a lot of double-teams, and he did a good job of doing that his whole career here.”
Hicks is in the final year of his contract. At 32, an extension was always going to be hard to come by. He missed 11 games in 2019 but only one last year. Between illness and injury — Hicks hurt his groin on the first play of the first Lions game, too — he appeared in only nine games this season.
He has spent the year coming to terms with the fact that he’s unlikely to stay in Chicago. He refused interviews throughout training camp and said in September that “I can’t see myself in another jersey.” Still, he seems to have accepted that this will be his final season. Last month, Hicks celebrated a sack at home against the Vikings by pointing to the fans at Soldier Field.
“I was pointing to the people that cheer for me, the people that love me, the people that love how I play the game ... letting them know I appreciate them,” Hicks said then. “I wanted to show some love back.”
For the ’Gram
In the last month, Bears outside linebacker Trevis Gipson has posted Instagram photos of his sacks of the Giants’ Mike Glennon, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. He even tagged them on it in hopes they would see.
No one has responded yet. But Gipson said it’s all in good fun.
“It’s just showing my personality, man,” he said. “I like to talk trash. Get after people. Have fun. But it’s really all just jokes and games. Ya know, I would feel appreciated if somebody did that to me. So I know that day’s coming some time soon. But I’m going to keep working hard to try to prevent that.”
Outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who will look to build on his franchise-best 18 sacks, practiced with a shoulder injury and is officially listed as questionable. So are nose tackle Eddie Goldman, who has a finger injury, and cornerback Duke Shelley, who has a heel problem.