On any normal Sunday, Khalil Mack is hard to contain.
But the Chicago Bears’ defensive end – traded from the Raiders before the start of the 2018 season – has extra motivation this Sunday when he plays against his former team in London.
Now in his sixth pro season, Mack — an All-Pro and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year in Oakland — once believed he’d be a Raider for a long, long time.
"That’s the expectation when you get drafted to a team," he told reporters this week. "You want to be there for the long haul and bring championships and all those good things."
But the Raiders, with a new head coach in Jon Gruden in 2018, believed they wouldn’t be able to come to terms on a new deal with Mack, and traded their best player to the Bears.
Now, Mack this week has tried to play down the showdown. He told the Chicago Sun-Times he’s tried to tamp down any extra emotion he has about getting to make his former team pay for trading him away.
"You can’t play this game with too much emotion," he said. "Ultimately I try to stay focused on the task at hand, understanding the situation. Absolutely there’s feelings that you suppress, but it’s also no big deal to me."
Yet when a reporter asked him if he had any vindictiveness toward the Raiders, Mack said, "I like that word."
It doesn’t appear he’ll go into Sunday’s game like it’s just another one of 16. This might be special.
Said Mack: "You could say I’m suppressing the emotional side. But the other side is go out and make them pay for it."
The 2-2 Raiders and 3-1 Bears are scheduled for kickoff Sunday in London at 10 a.m.