When the Las Vegas Raiders first traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears, there was clearly some animosity there. The superstar pass rusher was the team’s best player and was beloved by the fan base. He was the type of player who should’ve played his whole career with the team that drafted him.
That likely would’ve been the case had the Raiders not hired Jon Gruden to take over the team when Mack was looking to get paid. The coach decided to trade his best player to the Bears and the rest is history. Mack has had one chance at a revenge game in 2019 and it didn’t go well. The normally unblockable Mack had no sacks that game and only one quarterback hit. The Raiders and Gruden did a lot to make sure the pass rusher didn’t have a big game.
They likely have a gameplan again this year but Mack isn’t worried about it. He’s focusing on himself and is confident he’ll be ready for whatever the Raiders throw at him.
“I don’t care what they do,” Mack said. “I just know I’ll be ready for it.”
Mack hasn’t gotten his revenge on the Raiders trading him just yet. This season, the team’s offensive line is significantly worse. It could be a big day for the former Defensive Player of the Year.
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Mack Defends Derek Carr
While Mack could still hold some animosity towards Gruden, he still has a lot of love for quarterback Derek Carr. The two were drafted together and remain close friends. After the Raiders’ recent loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, defensive end Joey Bosa took a shot at Carr by saying that he shuts down when he’s under pressure. Mack knows the quarterback as well as anybody and defended him against Bosa’s comments.
“I see a growth, especially when they’re sending a lot of people at him,” Mack said of Carr. “He gets the ball out. He’s hitting his targets at a very high rate. These guys that he got have a lot of speed and they catch the ball in stride and take off. It’s going to be a good challenge for us this week.
“I know we’re going to have our hands full come Sunday. Looking forward to the challenge.”
Mack and Carr are usually friendly with each other but that won’t be the case this week.
“Not this week, not this week,” Mack said when asked if he’s staying in communication with Carr. “We’re not too friendly during the week of.”
Mack Talks Playing in Las Vegas for First Time
Had Mack not gotten traded, he would’ve been one of the team’s biggest selling points when they moved to Las Vegas. He was their biggest name and best player. He only played with the team when they were in Oakland so he has yet to play a game in Las Vegas. He’s looking forward to playing in front of the Raiders fans.
“It’s different, in a sense,” Mack said of playing in Las Vegas, “because you understand the fan base and what it means, to me especially. It’s gonna be fun to get a chance to play in front of Raider Nation out there.”
Despite the ugly breakup with the team, it sure sounds like Mack still has a love for the fan base.