This isn’t the way Akiem Hicks wanted to go out. In what is likely his last season with the Chicago Bears, the former Pro Bowler didn’t even get to play in the season finale. This is due to an ankle problem that has dogged him for much of the season. However, that is not the extent of the issues. Something has been off with the 32-year old much of the season. Going as far back as August when he abruptly left practice one day.
As it turns out, there seems to have been some sort of bad blood between Hicks and the coaching staff. According to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, things reached a fever pitch last week against the New York Giants when he got into a heated confrontation with his own defensive line coach. What it was about remains unknown, but this might explain why the Bears seemed to abruptly shut him down for the final week. Using his ankle issue as a convenient cover.
“According to a source, Hicks had a dispute with defensive line coach Chris Rumph during and after the game against the Giants at Soldier Field. It was characterized as “heated and ugly.” Coaches, teammates and staff members witnessed the exchange. Hicks’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not return an email request for comment. The Bears declined to comment.
Not only did Hicks not practice last week, but he wasn’t at Halas Hall. Hicks also didn’t travel with the team to Minneapolis for Sunday’s season finale against the Vikings, a 31-17 loss.”
Not a great look.
One can understand Akiem Hicks being frustrated. He’s battled injuries and COVID-19 all year. The guy has wanted to play but can’t seem to keep his body right. Now this supposed rift with his own defensive line coach makes it all the weirder. To say nothing of his desire to get a new contract from the organization. One they haven’t shown any willingness to give him. Not with his turning 33 this year and battling more and more health problems.
As if his future status with the organization weren’t already in doubt, this confrontation probably won’t do him any favors in any push to return. Even if the Bears overhaul their power structure. It is such a tragedy that things devolved to this state for Akiem Hicks. He was one of the best defensive linemen in football back in 2019. Then slowly over the past three seasons, his body started to betray him. Now his final notable moment in navy blue and orange could be fighting with his own coach.