Bears DT Akiem Hicks honored fans with sack celebration vs. Vikings

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Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks has been a favorite among Bears fans since his arrival in 2016, and for good reason. Not only has he been a sensational talent, but he’s been a leader in every sense of the word and someone people gravitate toward.

Unfortunately, it looks like Hicks is playing in his final stretch of games as a Chicago Bear.

Hicks, 32, is in the final season of a four-year, $48 million contract. He made it clear back in training camp that his desire was to remain with the Bears, but so far there’s been no movement with an extension. While Hicks has been GM Ryan Pace’s best free agent signing, the expectation is that Chicago will let him walk in free agency.

Hicks doesn’t know what his future holds, but he sounded like someone who’s prepared to hit the free agency rather than return to the Bears. And that potential exit was on his mind during Monday night’s game against the Vikings, where he had five tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks, and four QB hits.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Hicks said. “I just know that I’ve got games to play and if I do end up leaving, I’ll miss it here. I truly love my time.”

That showed in Hicks’ celebration of a first-quarter sack on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, where Hicks pointed enthusiastically at the crowd.

“I was pointing to the people that cheer for me, the people that love me, the people that love how I play the game,” Hicks said. “I was pointing at them, letting them know I appreciate them from my time. They’re always yelling my name. I wanted to show some love back.”

It was enough to leave Bears fans teary eyed as Hicks nears the end of his career in Chicago. But, if this is the end of his time with the Bears, oh, what a career it was.

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