Akiem Hicks Has Mysterious Exit From Bears Practice: Report

Akiem Hicks exit practice

Getty Akiem Hicks of the Chicago Bears participates in warm-ups before a preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field on August 14.

Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks left the team’s August 17 practice just as it began and did not return, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy did not mention an injury to Hicks when he spoke to the media before practice on Tuesday, and the team did not offer an update after practice as to why he left, according to Chris Emma of 670 The Score.

NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on August 12 that Hicks’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, approached the Bears with the hope of getting an extension for his client, so it’s clear Hicks wants to end his career in the Windy City, but no extension has been reported at this time. Now, after his exit from practice on August 17, rumors have begun to fly about the 31-year-old d-lineman’s future with the Bears.

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Speculation Arose on Twitter About Hicks’ Exit

Hicks’ exit from practice prompted many to ask questions — the defensive lineman looked fine and wasn’t on the injury report for the day, so why did he leave so suddenly? According to TheBIGS, a credentialed independent Chicago sports media outlet present at practice, Hicks walked off the field while his teammates began their stretches, and Nagy had an “animated discussion with a member of the training staff.”

TheBIGS also reported that “another staff member then brought Nagy a cell phone on the field, where Nagy had about a 5min discussion with someone. Immediately after, Nagy stood and talked with Head Trainer Andre Tucker, where he remained until the horn blew to alert practice starting.”

Again, the team had an opportunity to address his absence, and did not.

The first thought is that Hicks could have potentially tested positive for COVID-19, or had a close contact test positive. Another option is a potential trade, although that’s the unlikeliest of the two scenarios. Hicks was the subject of trade rumors this offseason, so that’s still a possibility, however.

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Hicks Was Reported to Have Been Offered Up By Bears This Spring

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported in March that Chicago offered Hicks and Khalil Mack as trade chips when they were trying to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks.

The Bears never confirmed this, but Nagy did confirm in May that Chicago looked into acquiring Wilson this offseason.

If Hicks is being shopped again, he should still have plenty left in the tank to be an asset to myriad defensive lines. An elbow dislocation and sprain caused him to miss 11 games in 2019, but he came back in 2020 and made his presence felt. In 15 games last season, Hicks totaled 3.5 sacks, 30 quarterback hurries, 16 QB hits and 50 pressures, per Pro Football Focus.

It’s far too early to rush to any judgments, however, and Nagy will likely speak about why Hicks left when he meets with the media before practice on the 18th.

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