Khalil Mack Has Strong Response to Bears Trading Him

Khalil Mack

Getty Khalil Mack spoke about being traded from the Chicago Bears for the first time.

In his first meeting with the media since being traded by the Chicago Bears, All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack shared his thoughts on the trade, his new team and his former teammates in the Windy City.

New Bears general manager Ryan Poles sent Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for a second-round pick this year and a sixth-rounder next year. Mack will be reunited with Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, who worked well with the linebacker during the 2018 season when Staley was outside linebackers coach for Chicago.

Mack, who turned 31 in February, called the news he was being traded “weird,” but also noted he was looking forward to reuniting with Staley.

“You don’t really ever anticipate it, even if you know it’s coming, or think it’s coming,” Mack said about the trade in his introductory press conference on March 16. “It was weird. It was weird to hear. But understanding the team, the coach, having a relationship with coach Staley, and knowing his mindset, knowing his passion for the game, I kinda went from bittersweet to kinda excited.”

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Mack Knew Hiring of Poles Meant Change Could Come

The All-Pro pass rusher is coming off the most injury-plagued season of his eight-year NFL career. Mack played in just seven games, with his season ending prematurely after a foot injury required surgery.

Still a dominant force on defense, Mack racked up 22 pressures, 16 hurries and six sacks in seven games, earning a 74.0 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus.

Former Bears GM Ryan Pace sent multiple first-round selections to the Raiders in exchange for Mack back in 2018, and Mack says when Poles was hired, he knew another trade was on the table.

“Different GM. Not the GM that traded for me. So you never know what can happen in those situations. I use common sense in certain situations, so I felt like maybe it was a chance.”

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Mack Gave Big Love to His Former Bears Teammates

Mack said he was watching television with his fiancée when he got the call informing him he was being traded to L.A. “I think we were watching Bel Air or something like that, which is kind of a strange coincidence,” he said with a grin.

It’s clear his four years with Chicago meant a great deal to the 31-year-old linebacker, who gave a shout-out to nearly every member of the team’s 2018 defense. That was Mack’s first season with the team, and the Bears went 12-4, won the NFC North and made the playoffs.

“It’s real special to me, especially that first year,” Mack said. “Having all the pieces, and all the coaching staff together, and everything like that. Having the players, from Kyle Fuller to Prince (Amukamara), to Eddie (Jackson), to (Adrian) Amos, to Akiem (Hicks), to Eddie Goldman, to Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, Roquan (Smith). I could go on and on. Just knowing what that felt like out there, playing with those guys, it was a special time. Special moment in my life, those four years.”

Mack says he’s “100% good to go” after the foot surgery last year. He’s also ready to show those who think he’s lost a step that he’s still an elite pass rusher in this league.

“Understanding what the narrative is about me right now, I can’t wait,” he added.

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