Bears' Khalil Mack 'itching' to get back on football field


Khalil Mack experienced what he categorized as a "whirlwind" before landing with the Chicago Bears via trade from the Oakland Raiders.

And after holding out from Oakland's team activities during the offseason, Mack enthusiastically looks forward to absorbing the Bears' defensive scheme to become a contributor once he catches his breath with his new team.

"I had the playbook in my hand for like 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," Mack told reporters Sunday. "But that's the most exciting part for me and I'm looking forward to it."

Despite joining the Bears late, Mack hopes to see action in the regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sept. 9.

Bears coach Matt Nagy, however, pumped the brakes and indicated he prefers to take a safe approach with an evaluation process in the week leading to the game before fully committing to unleashing the team's prized acquisition.

"We'll get to see where he's at mentally here after tonight and then physically, we'll have a practice tomorrow," Nagy told reporters. "And then we'll just kind of have to listen to his feedback on where he's at.

"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. ... We'll see where he's at and hopefully he's able to go out there and play well, but it'll be more of a day-by-day thing."

While it is true Mack doesn't have the benefit of organized workouts during the offseason, he certainly comes with the credentials of proven production once he is on the football field.

The Bears acquired one of the NFL's elite defensive players in Mack, who has totaled 40.5 sacks over the past four seasons with the Raiders. He has garnered first-team All-Pro selections twice (2015-16) and was also named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

Should the Bears come to the conclusion Mack is mentally and physically ready to hit the field in Week 1, they'll get a highly motivated player who wants to make an immediate impact.

"I really can't wait," Mack told reporters. "I'm itching. It's been a long time since I've played football."