Will Bears’ Khalil Mack face Packers? ‘You’ll see on Sunday, under the lights’
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Khalil Mack still needs to buy socks and underpants.
And, once he can find the time, a place to live.
“I’m trying to do that now,” Mack, who is living out of his hotel room, said Wednesday before practicing in full. “I’m trying to get on the phone with my financial advisor to see what I can afford.”
Mack, who signed the richest contract for a defensive player in NFL history Saturday, smiled while the room erupted in laughter.
He continued joking. Asked what his first impressions were of Mitch Trubisky, he said he told the quarterback he looks “like he has some African-American in him” and looked “a little darker than I expected.” Mack has fit right in in the Bears’ locker room since his arrival. He has been ebullient, excited and ready to work.
The whirlwind that started Saturday “was still moving pretty fast,” he said. Shopping for a home might have to wait. Mack, who received $60 million of his $90 million guaranteed at signing, is more worried about learning the Bears’ defense before the opener Sunday night in Green Bay.
He has spent most of his free time with outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley studying the Bears’ playbook, which has some schematic similarities to the one he played in with the Raiders under defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
“I’m definitely in the playbook, man,” he said. “Me and coach Staley, we were going at it. He’s kind of like my after-school tutor right now. We’re going at it every day.”
Even if Mack doesn’t digest the entire playbook by Sunday, he still can contribute. Trying to learn on the fly is intimidating, he said.
“It’s different,” he said. “But when you’re a competitor, it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Mack figures to play Sunday, even if he was playing coy.
“You’ll see on Sunday, under the lights,” he said.
The real question is how much he’ll play. The Bears can’t expect him to participate in every snap after sitting out all of the Raiders’ training camp. But Mack, who has never missed a regular-season game, will insist on playing as much as he can.
His very presence on the field will force the Packers to plan for him.
“They’re going to have to choose,” said Leonard Floyd, who will start opposite him at outside linebacker. “It’s going to be somebody up front getting doubled. And whoever ain’t doubled has got to make plays.”
Inside linebacker Roquan Smith, the eighth overall pick, said that Mack’s arrival makes the Bears even more excited to get started.
“That’s huge, having a guy like that, a former defensive player of the year and the presence he makes on the field,” Smith said. “It’s great having another great guy join the team.”
Trubisky himself was happy to hear the news — from his mom — Saturday morning. His parents were visiting, and he had planned on sleeping in during a rare off day.
When his mom first walked in to tell him, Trubisky told her to leave.
“You can’t wake me up with that kind of news, because you just don’t believe it,” Trubisky said. “But, he’s here, we’re ready to roll, getting ready for Week 1 and we’re excited about it.”
There’s no better way for Mack to be indoctrinated into the franchise than to start at Lambeau Field, in prime time.
“I’m learning how big this game is going to be on Sunday,” Mack said. “It’s only helping me. Fueling me even more. I can’t wait to do it for Chicago.”