Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks did not mince words when discussing how he felt about Colin Kaepernick’s inability to find a new NFL job after kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
Hicks voiced his opinion that Kaepernick had been blackballed by the NFL due to his national anthem protests. As evidence, he simply pointed to the fact that his team gave Mike Glennon a $45 million deal three years ago when Kaepernick had just left the San Francisco 49ers.
Hicks’ point was that the Bears could have signed Kaepernick, who had led a team to a Super Bowl appearance. Instead, they signed Glennon and made him the starter. He went just 1-3 before being benched in favor of then-rookie Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears cut Glennon after just one year of his original three-year deal, and he hasn’t started for any other team since.
Kaepernick’s peaceful protest — and what he was protesting — have both received renewed attention in recent days in light of the death of George Floyd. It even has people who worked with the NFL at the time admitting that they were wrong in their handling with Kaepernick. Hicks is only adding to the evidence on that.
The Chicago Bears’ defense is getting a huge boost in their late playoff push.
The Bears will activate defensive lineman Akiem Hicks ahead of Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, as first reported by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Hicks hasn’t played since Oct. 6 against Oakland. His return is great news for Chicago’s defensive front, particularly their run defense, which is his specialty. The fact that they get this help ahead of a key divisional game against the Packers is just a bonus.
At 7-6, the Bears are still in the playoff race, albeit as a longshot. They may need to win out to have a realistic chance.
Is this the new and improved NFL? One play from the second half of Thursday night’s Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game may suggest so.
Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks took down Aaron Rodgers just after the Packers quarterback threw away a ball in the third quarter. Hicks wrapped his arms around Rodgers near the quarterback’s neck and took him down roughly.
That is the same kind of play that probably would have drawn a flag last year for roughing the passer. We saw bogus penalty calls on much less.
Football Zebras, a Twitter account pertaining to NFL referees, shared why they believe no infraction was called.
Back when Clay Matthews was getting called for all sorts of penalties last season, Rodgers stood up for defenders and spoke out against the penalty calls. Keep that in mind before you complain about the lack of a call, Packers fans.
A league that uses common sense and doesn’t penalize defenders for continuing their momentum with a tackle but not doing so excessively is one we like to see.
Chicago Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is known for his defensive exploits and ability to get to the quarterback, but on Sunday, he became notable for something else.
The Bears lined Hicks up on offense as the up back in a goal line situation and handed him the ball, letting him punch it in from one yard out for a go-ahead Chicago touchdown against the New York Giants.
More than a few people noted the similarity between how Hicks was used here and how the Chicago Bears of the 1980s used William “The Refrigerator” Perry, much to their delight.
We’ll see if this is a one-off thing, but on the evidence, Hicks might just have some utility in goal line situations. Why not?
Through the first six weeks of the NFL season, several popular names still lead the fray when it comes to defensive production. However, key injuries to superstars like J.J. Watt have created a void that has been filled by some surprising players, many of whom are having career years.
Here’s a look at each NFL team’s best defensive player so far in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals — Tyvon Branch, S
There are a lot of talented defenders on Arizona’s roster, but through six weeks, it’s hard to argue that Tyvon Branch — who has been called a “wolverine” complement to the “honey badger” — isn’t the very best. He not only leads the team and is tied for the league lead with 55 tackles, but he’s also defended four passes, forced a fumble and was named to the Pro Football Focus First Quarter All-Pro Team. Branch getting the nod says a lot about his impact this season when you consider Arizona also has Chandler Jones and his six sacks.
Atlanta Falcons — Deion Jones, LB
Deion Jones has filled out the box score this year, leading the Falcons with 38 tackles. He’s also recorded a sack, three passes defended and an interception. Jones is also among Pro Football Focus’ top 15 graded linebackers this season, alongside teammate De’Vondre Campbell, who has also landed very high grades for Atlanta. Jones is blossoming well for Atlanta in his second NFL season.
The Chicago Bears are locking down one of their most prominent defensive stalwarts.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that the Bears and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks are closing in on an extension that will net the player $30 million in guaranteed money.
The 27-year-old Hicks collected a career-high seven sacks in his first season in Chicago, and they clearly liked what they saw. They’ll have him locked down for the foreseeable future now.
Rob Ryan has a backer in his assertion that the New Orleans Saints stripped him of his power while defensive coordinator.
Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who played for the Saints under Ryan from 2013 through 2015, believes that Ryan was telling the truth when he claimed that he wasn’t allowed to run his own defense during his final two seasons as Saints defensive coordinator.
“Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy,” Hicks said Wednesday, via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it.
“I didn’t see the interview, but I do know this: I’ll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there’s nobody that’s going to shoot you straighter. He’s going to tell you how it is, he’s going to tell you how he feels, and you’re always going to understand his perspective on things, and I feel like that was taken away.”
In an interview last week, Ryan effectively blamed Payton and the Saints for not allowing him to run the defense he wanted to run. Naturally, Payton refuted that assertion, but if Ryan’s players were noticing, perhaps the guy has a point. When exchanges like this one were happening on the sideline, something clearly wasn’t right in New Orleans.
Jimmy Graham has found himself playing for a perennial Super Bowl contender this season, while the team he spent the first five seasons of his career with is heading in the opposite direction. And it would appear that Graham is happy he is no longer in New Orleans.
On Wednesday, the Saints traded defensive end Akiem Hicks to the New England Patriots. Shortly after that happened, Graham told Hicks on Twitter that his former teammate should “feel blessed” he got out of The Big Easy.
Graham quickly deleted the tweet, but Twitter always finds a way to preserve an athlete’s mistakes.
The Saints are 0-3 and Drew Brees is dealing with a shoulder injury. Even before Brees was injured, it looked like their offense was in major trouble without Graham. It’s possible that Graham’s message had more to do with the current state of the Saints than it did with his feelings toward the organization, but it was probably a little of both.
There have already been reports indicating Graham may not be happy with the Seahawks, though the tight end did his best to squash those rumors last week. One thing’s for sure — Graham doesn’t have nearly the same chemistry with Russell Wilson yet that he had with Drew Brees.