Akiem Hicks has been a stalwart in the middle of the Chicago Bears defense going on six seasons, an underrated body-mover stuffing the run and penetrating the backfield.
The 31-year-old would like to continue that job in Chicago for the rest of his career.
"I'll do everything in my power to do so," he said Tuesday, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "That's what I want. That's what I feel at the end of the day is right for me. I started a piece of my career here, and it grew, and it blossomed, and I've just had so many joy-filled moments as a Chicago Bear. I can't see myself in another jersey."
A third-round pick out of Regina (Canada) in 2012, Hicks spent three seasons with the Saints before being traded to New England three games into the 2015 season. He then inked a two-year contract in Chicago in 2016. A four-year, $48 million extension came a year later after a dominant 54-tackle, 7-sack season from Hicks.
With the final year of his contract commenced, Hicks desires an extension that would potentially take him through the end of his career.
"I'd be lying to say that it was never a present thought," Hicks said. "During the course of this offseason, there was a great deal of energy spent pondering how this was all going to play out.
"Unfortunately, you don't get to choose [how long you stay]. ... I have to accept that. It's a present thought in my mind, but it can't be my main focus."
Hicks' situation highlights the attrition to a once stingy Bears defense. With most of the key pieces of the secondary gone and the once-dominant front aging, Chicago's defense looked a shell of itself in its Week 1 loss to L.A.
While Hicks wants a new deal, he's just going about his business to prove he's earned it.
"It's business, and it's very professional," Hicks said. "I've been hired to do a job, and the job isn't done yet, so I'm going to continue to play and put my best foot forward and carry myself as the professional that I have been for my entire career."
After generating three tackles, half a sack, and two QB hits in the season opener, Hicks showed that he's still a potent player -- one of the few remaining on a sagging defense. Whether that's enough to convince the Bears front office he's worthy of a new contract remains to be seen. But if Chicago doesn't pay him, the veteran will undoubtedly find work in free agency.