Khalil Mack excited to play former team in London

Josh Purnell, Courier Staff

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Khalil Mack was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Mack had immediate impact on the team and his accomplishments showed that. Mack started all 64 games over four seasons. He had 40.5 sacks, went to three Pro Bowls, and was awarded 2015 Defensive Player of the Year. You would think a player with a resume like thatwould get resigned, well, not quite.

Mack was looking forward to a new contract with the Raiders, but it seemed as if Oakland was stalling to pay him. If Oakland did not come up with a deal, Mack was potentially thinking about sitting out for the 2018 season. All of that changed on Sept. 1, 2018. The Chicago Bears traded two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a sixth-round pick to the Oakland Raiders for Mack, a 2020 second-round pick, and conditional fifth-round pick. The Bears signed Mack to a six-year deal worth $140 million, $90 million guaranteed. That’s the richest contract in NFL history for a defensive player. Believe it or not, a player of that caliber is worth every single penny. The first game of the season, the Bears played their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers and Mack put on an outstanding performance.

In the second quarter, he sacked Green Bay backup QB Deshone Kizer and stripped and recovered the ball. Later, in the second quarter, he intercepted a pass from Kizer and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. He was the first player since 1982 to record a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception, and touchdown in one half.

Mack finished the 2018 season with 12 sacks and six forced fumbles. The Bears were ranked the third best defense in the league, leading the league in sacks, interceptions, and stopping the run.

It seemed like Mack picked up where he left off last season. In four games, Mack has 10 tackles, four sacks, and four forced fumbles. Oakland’s 21st ranked offense will have to use everything in their power to contain Mack and make sure he doesn’t get anywhere near their quarterback. Speaking of Oakland QB Derek Carr, when Mack was asked by the press about his close relationship with Carr, he had this to say: “That’s my brother. I love him, but it’s going to be fun to compete against him this week. When we were there trying to change the culture, just going through that process together, it was real special.” Mack said. Mack had nothing but great things to say about his former QB and former team. But, make no mistake about it, Mack wants revenge. He thought he was spending his entire career in Oakland never expecting to be traded. The football world was shocked when the news got out that he was traded to the Bears. Now that he has one season under his belt with Chicago, Mack prepares for Oakland just like he would for any other team. When asked by the press about his emotions playing against his former team, he said, “You can’t play this game with too much emotion. Ultimately, I try to stay focused on the task at hand and understanding the situation and understanding what they’re going to be thinking that I feel. But ultimately I’m going to go out there and do what I do and that’s to play football and love the game that I play.”

This is going to be one exciting game to watch. It’s the first game of the season in London and everyone’s eyes will be glued to the television to see how Mack will perform against his former Oakland Raiders.

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