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Akiem Hicks: 'Forever have a great deal of respect' for Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Former New England Patriots defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, who agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, held a conference call with Bears reporters on Monday morning. Hicks was asked about the Patriots and the possibility of remaining in New England.

“Several conversations between Bill [Belichick] and myself and between my agent and the organization," he said, via ESPN.com NFL Nation Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson.

"I will forever have a great deal of respect for Bill and the coaching staff -- Matt Patricia, Brendan Daly, everyone over there that brought me in during that Week 3 of the season and pushed us forward in order to try to win a Super Bowl. I will forever have a great deal of respect for them and what they do, and know why they’re in a position they’re in year in and year out.

"To answer your question more so, I would say that there was a great effort in order for us to work something out, but I found Chicago would be a better fit for me, as far as my future’s concerned.”

Hicks' deal has $5 million in guarantees. That was likely too rich for the Patriots, who are positioning themselves to best address a core of defensive players whose contracts expire after the 2016 season.

Meanwhile, in a conference call with Jets reporters, running back Matt Forte said the Patriots showed "minor interest" in him as a free agent. Forte ended up signing a three-year, $12 million pact with $9 million in bonuses/guarantees.

Similar to the situation with Hicks, that was likely too rich for the Patriots.