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Akiem Hicks backs Rob Ryan's claim that Saints stripped his power

Former New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Akiem Hicks backed Rob Ryan's claim that he wasn't running his own defense during his last two years in New Orleans.

"Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy," Hicks told reporters following a practice Wednesday with his new team, the Chicago Bears. "It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it."

Ryan ripped the Saints last week in an MMQB interview for deciding to change schemes and personnel to emulate the Seattle Seahawks. He also said New Orleans' two dreadful defensive performances in 2014 and 2015 were "a waste of time" and "don't have my signature on them."

Hicks was traded to the New England Patriots early last season before signing with the Bears as a free agent this year.

"I didn't see the interview, but I do know this: I'll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there's nobody that's going to shoot you straighter," Hicks told the Chicago media Wednesday. "He's going to tell you how it is, he's going to tell you how he feels, and you're always going to understand his perspective on things, and I feel like that was taken away."

Hicks also tweeted his support for Ryan's claims on the day the interview was published last week:

Last season, the Saints ranked last in the NFL in points allowed per game, yards per rush and yards per pass attempt last year. They shattered NFL records for most touchdown passes allowed in a season and highest opponents' passer rating.

Ryan was fired last November and was replaced by Dennis Allen, who remains New Orleans' defensive coordinator heading into this season.

ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.