Mack is only 28 and enters just his sixth NFL season. The dynamo could have another decade in the league depending on how life breaks. Yet, the sage, blunt defender said he learned from former veteran teammates Charles Woodson and Justin Tuck early in his Raiders tenure how quickly a career can slip away without winning if you're not urgent.
"You're running out of time, man," Mack said. "All these older dudes let us know at an early point in my career, man, we ain't got no time to waste."
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-Pro, and four-time Pro Bowler isn't close to the back nine of his career, but that doesn't mean his urgency is fabricated. And it certainly rubs off on other players, even the offense.
The Bears came up short last season in the postseason. Mack fears a future where he's known as a great player who was always on teams that failed in the big spot.
The quarterback-disrupter knows in order to get to where he wants to go, he'll need teammates similarly committed to the cause.
"That's what it's all about," Mack said. "This game is all about making everybody around you great, not so much about making myself great."
Talent combined with urgency to win makes for great players. Whether Mack can help make the Bears a great team depends on whether his teammates buy into that sense of urgency and perform with that earnestness for 16 weeks from September through December.