Bears

Bears OLB Khalil Mack: ‘I feel like I’m ready’ to face Packers in Week 1

Khalil Mack’s self-described “whirlwind” weekend began to calm down, only slightly, on Sunday. After being traded to the Bears and signing the richest deal ever for a defender, the outside linebacker began to turn his focus to the next job: playing the Packers.

Despite holding out all offseason from the Raiders’ facility, Mack said he thinks he’ll play Week 1 for the Bears.

“I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “But, you know, the game, we’ve got to get out there and get to it. And my body will respond the way it’s going to respond. And then the coaches are going to kinda ease me into it. So we’re going to figure it out.”

Coach Matt Nagy is ready for him to play in the rivalry game. He said Mack will work out with the Bears when they return to practice Monday. Asked about the likelihood of him playing, Nagy smiled. “Hopefully pretty good,” he said.

Khalil Mack speaks with the media Sunday. | Tim Boyle, For the Sun-Times

Khalil Mack speaks with the media Sunday. | Tim Boyle, For the Sun-Times

He’ll try and get up to speed this week.

“We’ll get to see where he’s at mentally here after (Sunday night), and then physically we’ll have a practice tomorrow and physically get an idea, and then we’ll just kind of have to listen to his feedback where he’s at,” Nagy said. “We told him, communication is imperative here. It’s not like being able to plug somebody in on a Madden game and just say, go sack the quarterback. There’s some planning that goes involved to it.”

Mack said he worked out “everywhere” during his holdout, including at 24-Hour Fitnesses at odd hours of the night.

“I wanted to be ready for the moment,” he said.

He said he’ll begin studying the Bears playbook Sunday.

“I gotta go talk to the coaches and figure it out,” he said. “I had a a playbook in my hands for about two seconds and was about to sit down, but couldn’t sit down and had to do interviews, and keep moving, and meet coaches and meet everybody.”