Akiem Hicks is merely a fourth alternate to the 2018 Pro Bowl, meaning he’s in the mix to head to Orlando next month but will need a couple of defensive linemen to drop out to make it. Despite a disruptive, impactful year as the Bears’ best defensive player, Hicks wasn’t named to the initial NFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday night.
“It’s like telling a kid he ain’t getting no presents for Christmas, you know what I mean?” Hicks said. “It hurts but I’ll be all right, I’ll survive. As long as the fans in Chicago see me as one of their favorite players, I’ll be happy at the end of the day.”
Making the Pro Bowl was a goal Hicks wanted to hit in 2017, and he felt like his play warranted a trip to Orlando. Specifically, Hicks laid out this case: He’s primarily an interior defensive linemen, who usually have five or six sacks. Hicks has eight, with all of them coming as either a three-technique (lined up over the outside shoulder of a guard) or a one-technique (lined up over the shoulder of the center). And Hicks is tied with the New York Giants’ Damon Harrison atop the league with 38 run stops.
“I’m not going to toot my own horn,” Hicks said, “but you guys (the media) are asking, right?”
Indeed, we were. And Hicks made a compelling case. But he did raise another fair point: That he plays for a 4-10 team didn’t help his Pro Bowl case.
“Yeah, it doesn’t really work out when you don’t have the record to match your performance, right?” Hicks said.
So Hicks’ combination of being on a bad team and having his talents show up more on film than on the stat sheet explains why not only did he miss the initial Pro Bowl roster, but is only a fourth alternate. Almost everyone who’s closely watched Hicks this year would argue he should’ve been honored with a Pro Bowl bid.
But there is at least one person out there who recognized who good Hicks has played in 2017.
“Mom told me I did my job this year,” Hicks said.