Bears' Akiem Hicks looks to be in running for contract extension

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears veteran defensive end Akiem Hicks has emerged as a strong candidate to receive a contract extension.

Hicks, 27, was spotted alongside his agents on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University late Wednesday afternoon.

Hicks signed a two-year deal with Chicago that included $5.5 million in guaranteed money last offseason. The defensive lineman outperformed the contract, recording a career-high 71 tackles and seven sacks in 16 starts. Hicks was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance versus the San Francisco 49ers on Dec. 4, when he recorded 13 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble.

“I love the city, man,” Hicks said earlier Wednesday. “I feel like it’s funny because, I was coming to Chicago long before I played for the Bears. My mother’s from here. I know when I was a free agent and my mom found out that -- I’m a momma’s boy, obviously -- when my mom found out Chicago was a team that was interested in me coming here, she was ecstatic. She was excited. She wanted me to be here. She wanted to be able to come here and see her son play in her home city. In living here, I’ve grown to love it -- go Cubs. I just enjoy my time here and I’m completely open to ending my career here.”

The Bears extended outside linebacker Willie Young's contract during last year’s training camp.