2. Akiem Hicks, DE
This guy was a fan favorite for a while. Since the day he signed with the Bears back in 2016, Akiem Hicks was one of the loudest, most fierce and loving personalities this team had in the locker room. There was no more fun of a player to cover or be around at times than Hicks. The veteran defensive end brought the intensity and personality every single day.
In six seasons with the Bears, Hicks totaled 30.5 sacks, a Pro Bowl appearance and was known to be one of the very best run-stopping defensive linemen in all of football. What made him special was his ability to stop the run at a high level, while also being extremely disruptive to opposing quarterbacks. He was a rare blend of having both talents at the defensive end position.
Ultimately, Hicks' health became an issue. Hicks missed 19 games over his final three seasons with the Bears, when his body simply couldn't keep up with his physical mentality and play style. It was tough to watch, too, because fans saw the intensity out of this guy right down to his last game with the team. He desired, so badly, to be on that field and getting after the football. But, his body wouldn't allow it.
Hicks spent his most recent year with Tampa Bay in 2022 and didn't play last season. It could be the end for him, too.