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Akiem Hicks appreciative of time with Patriots

The Patriots lost one of their few front-line free agents when Akiem Hicks agreed to a reported two-year, $10 million deal with the Chicago Bears. Hicks held a conference call with Chicago media on Monday and expressed plenty of gratitude towardBill Belichick and the Patriots while admitting the Patriots did plenty to try to retain his services.

"Several conversations between Bill and myself and between my agent and the organization. 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," Hicks said via ESPN.com's Jeff Dickerson. "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.

"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."

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