Our Pledge To You

Bears

Pro Bowl hopes? Bears’ Mack, Fuller, Jackson, Cohen leaders in fan voting

This has been a breakout season in terms of recognition for Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks.

Largely overlooked on 3-13 and 5-11 teams in his first two seasons with the Bears, Hicks has been recognized as a leader on a resurgent squad that is likely to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

All he needs is a testimonial to acknowledge that recognition, which might come in the form of a Pro Bowl berth. The team will be announced live at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NFL Network’s Pro Bowl special.

‘‘It would be an honor,’’ Hicks said as the Bears prepared to face the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field. ‘‘It’s something I’ve wanted for a really long time. Is it guaranteed to happen? No. Have I been shafted before? Yes. Will it hurt the same? It for sure will. But that’s what we’ve got to deal with. I hope everything goes the way that I deserve. But we’ll see.’’

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers avoids being sacked by Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears during the first quarter of a game at Lambeau Field on September 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (96) chases down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the Packers 24-23 victory Sept. 9 at Lambeau Field. | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Hicks, who has 48 tackles, six sacks and 11 tackles for loss this season, is one of several Bears candidates for the Pro Bowl. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack is a virtual lock, with 10 sacks and six forced fumbles. Safety Eddie Jackson, with five interceptions and three touchdowns, and cornerback Kyle Fuller, who is tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions, are good bets to make it.

Others in contention include inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, nose tackle Eddie Goldman, cornerback Prince Amukamara, safety Adrian Amos, kick returner Tarik Cohen and center Cody Whitehair.

RELATED
Eyeing best home mark since ’05, Bears expect ‘crazy’ Soldier Field vs. Packers
With Pack up next, whatever you do, don’t ask Mitch Trubisky about Brett Favre

Players are selected by a consensus of voting from fans, players and coaches. Four Bears were leading vote-getters in fan voting: Mack, Fuller, Jackson and Cohen. Amos was second among strong safeties behind the Jets’ Jamal Adams. Fan voting is one-third of the selection process.

The expected haul for the Bears’ defense would be a long time coming. The defense, despite finishing 10th in the league last season, did not feature a player who had been named to the Pro Bowl until Mack was acquired in a trade before Week 1.

In fact, the Bears haven’t had a player selected to the original Pro Bowl roster since guard Kyle Long in 2014. They haven’t had a defensive player named to the original Pro Bowl roster since 2012, when defensive end Julius Peppers, cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings and defensive tackle Henry Melton made it with receiver Brandon Marshall.

The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 27 in Orlando, Florida.

NOTE: Safety Eddie Jackson (shin), receiver Allen Robinson (hip) and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols (knee) are questionable for the game against the Packers but are expected to play. Jackson didn’t practice Friday, and Nichols was limited. Robinson had full participation.