Abrupt 2015 trade from Saints sparked a career low for Akiem Hicks

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Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has become a dominant force for Chicago. He landed there as a free agent, after his rookie contract expired while with the Patriots. He landed in New England in a less conventional way.

Yes, a trade sent Hicks from the Saints to the Patriots early in the 2015. The trade reportedly was sparked by an incident between Hicks and Saints coach Sean Payton.

As explained by Dan Pompei of TheAthletic.com, Hicks was benched for an undrafted rookie during a loss to the Panthers. This triggered a “heated exchange” between Hicks and Payton.

Hicks supposedly refused to return to the game, a contention that he denies. Later that night, Payton and Hicks exchanged “[m]ore heated words” by phone. The following week, Payton informed Hicks that he’d been traded to the Patriots.

The move stunned Hicks.

“It was the absolute lowest point of my life,” Hicks told Pompei. “At 14, I fell in love with the game, watching clips from NFL Films. When you are all in, with your entire self, chasing a dream, pushing aside everything that can get in the way including friends and family, it becomes you. So when I got to that point when I was traded, I felt like, it wouldn’t happen. I suck. I’m not a good player. I’m going to be forgotten. I felt like it was over. I’m not what I thought I was all these years. . . . It’s not a good place I was in.”

Hicks finished the season with the Patriots, before signing with the Bears in 2016. And Hicks has gotten better and better during his three seasons in Chicago, proving his assessment of his own skills accurate — even if it took a little while for him to reach his full potential.

28 responses to “Abrupt 2015 trade from Saints sparked a career low for Akiem Hicks

  1. I hated this trade. Finally, the article helps to clarify a “reason” for it. It always seemed like they traded Hicks because they knew financially that they wouldn’t be able to keep him.

    I wish they would have gotten more than a blocking TE that was always hurt.

    It would be awesome to see him on the same DL with Cam.

  2. sean payton has the biggest ego in the NFL and is the only reason the Saints haven’t won multiple SBs with the talent on that roster.

  3. If your name is Sean Payton, you probably deserve to see Hicks do good now.

  4. It’s hard to find the straw that stirs the drink on the Bears defense. Mack is dominant, but so are Hicks and Goldman. Roquan Smith should be better this year, and – who knows – Pagano might actually ask Floyd to run forward more often than backwards.

    Whoever stirs the drink this year, it’s going to be a good one.

  5. Awesome and humbling story for Hicks. It’s so great to see how far he has come not only as a player, but as a great leader and teammate as well. He quickly became a fan favorite when The Bears were in a dark place 3-4 years ago and had no face of the franchise.

  6. This guy was a one man wrecking crew in practices in August in 2015 at the Green Brier. He would have had Brady sacked 3-4 times in the scrimmage on that first day alone.

    He also bowled over top notch (now anyway), rookie undrafted Center, David Andrews, in a drill so badly to the point I thought Andrews wouldn’t make the team. Boy, was I wrong about Andrews just seeing a couple drills and scrimmages. He may be small, but man is he technically great and smart/tough, too.

    Hicks was a great trade acquisition by BB, but he chose more money and instability in Chicago over rings in NE, which is so beyond stupid. But, he made his choice because he didn’t want to work hard to earn a ring. He’s rather get paid the most and coast instead.

    That’s why he was dealt from NOs to NE in the first place.

    Perfect 3-4 DE/4/-3 DT hybrid player, though. It’s why BB wanted to keep him so badly.

  7. Se3an Payton coaches a team that was punished for their criminal activity.

    Hicks is an asset in Chicago
    . Payton can jump in the lake.

    Oh, and go get a rule change for replay.

    what a tool!

  8. To tylawspick6:

    As a fan who doesn’t miss a game, I can tell you Hicks tries very, very hard. Yes, also got paid well. Win-win for him and the Bears. He has helped turn a bad team around. Sure, he missed a couple rings, but he’s happy, healthy, and well-funded. Sounds like the good life to me.

  9. tylawspick6 says: “he chose more money and instability in Chicago over rings in NE, which is so beyond stupid. But, he made his choice because he didn’t want to work hard to earn a ring.”

    ==================

    That’s his choice and so far it seems to work out fine for him. As a Bears fan, I’m fine with it.

  10. Hicks played well for the Pats wish he had stayed on. Can’t blame him for wanting the big payday though and glad he’s doing well

  11. Hicks was best friends with Junior Gallette, and he also got into several fist fights with his teammates. He was inconsistent as hell in New Orleans. He’s great when he’s hot, but when he’s not, he’s Sub-Zero. He’d went three games in a row where he didn’t record a single stat. Zeroes across the board three weeks in a row. He actually did that twice in his Saints career. I’m glad to see him doing well in Chicago, as I was pumped when we drafted him, but I don’t regret them trading him.

  12. Spare me.
    Why always take the side of the player?
    Hicks fought with his HC, as a result he was traded.
    If I were Payton I’d trade him to but I’d trade him to a loser team.

  13. tylawspick6 says: “But, he made his choice because he didn’t want to work hard to earn a ring. He’s rather get paid the most and coast instead.”

    As a Packer fan I wish that was the case. Hicks is a beast and plays tough all game.

  14. When Hicks signed with the Bears in free agency the Patriots realized that they made a big mistake by not making a more competitive offer–he played well with the Pats and they knew that he was a very good player.

  15. dabears2485 says:
    June 25, 2019 at 1:33 pm
    To tylawspick6:

    As a fan who doesn’t miss a game, I can tell you Hicks tries very, very hard. Yes, also got paid well. Win-win for him and the Bears. He has helped turn a bad team around. Sure, he missed a couple rings, but he’s happy, healthy, and well-funded. Sounds like the good life to me.

    20 2 Rate This

    ———————-

    Well, your team got absolutely dusted in OCtber last year by the PAts. He was completely dominated. And, I can tell you, BB doesn’t like freelancers or guys who go by the beat of their own drum. I am not telling you he is not a really good player. I am telling you he consider the crap Lions and Bears in FA and there is a reason for that when your team and Det had all kinds of money and free cap space to spend a couple years back.

    No offense, who would leave NE to go to the Bears and John Fox?

    It’s pretty clear what his priority was.

  16. redclaw1314 says:
    June 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm
    When Hicks signed with the Bears in free agency the Patriots realized that they made a big mistake by not making a more competitive offer–he played well with the Pats and they knew that he was a very good player.

    0 1 Rate This

    ——————

    False. BB called HIcks to offer MORE than market, but Hicks for some reason didn’t want to win a SB.

    This has nothing to do with their offer. It has to do with a very strange person who did not want to play in SBs and wanted to be able to coast during practices and do things on his own terms.

  17. greenwhodat26 says:
    June 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm
    Hicks was best friends with Junior Gallette, and he also got into several fist fights with his teammates. He was inconsistent as hell in New Orleans. He’s great when he’s hot, but when he’s not, he’s Sub-Zero. He’d went three games in a row where he didn’t record a single stat. Zeroes across the board three weeks in a row. He actually did that twice in his Saints career. I’m glad to see him doing well in Chicago, as I was pumped when we drafted him, but I don’t regret them trading him.

    10 2 Rate This

    ———————-

    This is why he left NE. He couldn’t take the pressure/expectations and structure. You and I are correct, the Bears fans and others are not.

    They can’t even tell when he takes plays off or checks out of games like vs the Pats last year when they did whatever they wanted on him.

    Some guys look great vs mediocre or weak talent and then disappear vs good or great teams.

    That’s Hicks. Hicks’s choosing of Chicago over NE symbolizes that.

  18. harrisonhits2 says:
    June 25, 2019 at 2:13 pm
    Hicks played well for the Pats wish he had stayed on. Can’t blame him for wanting the big payday though and glad he’s doing well

    21 1 Rate This

    ——————–

    It wasn’t. NE was offering the same money. He wanted more “freedom” within the myth that BB is a big meanie and doesn’t allow players to be themselves.

    Some guys don’t want to tin bad enough nor are willing to do what it takes become a champion. Hicks is one of those guys.

  19. Hicks was great with New England. I enjoyed watching him play.

    He left for more money and I don’t blame him for it. In a business where you are lucky to be able to work for 10 years maximizing money should be a factor in your decisions.

  20. “Well, your team got absolutely dusted in OCtber last year by the PAts.”

    A seven point victory with two NE special team touchdowns? The Bears had the better stats for most of the major and many of the minor statistics? NE Weeks 4, 8 and 17 are better examples of dustings, the Bears game last year was a luck win.

  21. Bill straightened him out, taught him how to play ball in one year and then he was able to get a fat free agent contract and moved on. A constantly repeated tale, and when you think about it belichick has really made the entire league better in countless ways.

  22. He put aside everything…… except his own massive ego and disrespectful attitude towards his head coach.

  23. Stayed in school.. Your leading rusher was the QB, Sony left the game early in the 1st half, two special teams TDs(yes.. Blocked punt and return) but Patterson fumble and sonys fumble gave the Bears a very short field and they scored a TD both times. But just to clarify, BB expects his “special teams” to do that. That is why he spends his time and resources (draft picks, special team only players) on them.

  24. Straw that stirs the drink means “what makes it into what it should be” so to speak. If you make a mixed drink /coffee with sugar&cream and do not stir it.. What’s it taste like.

  25. Hicks is too inconsistent in big games to be deemed a top player. But he is a passionate guy and if he can maintain a positive approach is a great asset for a team.

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