NFL

Khalil Mack Is 1 of the Greatest Players in the NFL, and It Has Nothing to Do With Football

Khalil Mack was in the middle of one of the biggest news stories of the 2018 NFL preseason when the Raiders traded him to the Bears just before the start of the regular season. He is the linchpin of one of the best defenses in the league and a well-known name among the sport’s fans. His play on the field speaks for itself, but Mack is also one of the NFL’s greatest players even if you don’t even consider his playing ability thanks to his charitable work. Mack showcased that in December 2019 when he made a gesture to help those less fortunate than him during the holiday season.

Khalil Mack’s playing career before the trade

A discussion of Khalil Mack’s career begins in college at Buffalo. He had 28.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and four interceptions — including two pick-6s — in his collegiate career. That was enough to get the Raiders to select him with the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. 

In his four seasons with the Raiders, Mack had 40.5 sacks, one interception which he returned for a touchdown, and he forced nine fumbles and had four fumble recoveries. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his final three seasons in Oakland. 

His performance with the Raiders allowed them to get a big haul when they traded him to the Bears. In exchange for the linebacker and two picks in the 2020 draft, the Bears sent the Raiders their first-round picks in the 2019 and 2020 drafts, in addition to two more draft picks. Upon trading for him, the Bears signed Mack to a six-year, $141 million contract extension.

Khalil Mack in Chicago

Khalil Mack is a star NFL player, and his excellence extends well beyond the sidelines.
Khalil Mack. | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Mack had another Pro Bowl season in his first year with the Bears in 2018. He forced a career-best six fumbles, recovered two fumbles, recorded 12.5 sacks, and had another pick-6. He was the centerpiece of a Bears defense that was the best in the NFL and allowed just 283 points. 

Mack has had another good season in 2019. Through 13 games, he forced five fumbles, tallied a fumble recovery, and recorded 7.5 sacks. He has also defended a career-high four passes in each of his two Bears seasons, with the possibility for more this season.

Why Khalil Mack is as great off the field as he is on it

Mack is a Pro Bowl player on the gridiron, and he’s an all-star off it, too. The Walmart in Mack’s hometown of Fort Pierce, Fla., announced in December 2019 that the NFL star paid off all of the store’s active holiday layaway accounts, with the payment being made through his Khalil Mack Foundation. 

The store’s Facebook page posed thanked the foundation for its generosity, and “for making so many families happy for the holidays.” A Walmart spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that Mack’s foundation paid the bills of 300 to 350 accounts, for a total donation of about $80,000. The store manager acknowledged that the foundation came to store officials and “said he wanted to be a secret Santa.” 

That was just the latest charitable donation Mack made in his hometown. In June, he sent 100 pairs of Nike cleats to the Fort Pierce Westwood football team. Despite becoming one of the best defensive players in the NFL — and playing his first few seasons thousands of miles away in California — Mack has not forgotten where he is from. He makes sure to continue to give back to the community that supported him as he was being raised there and allowed him to become a star player in the league, earning a nine-figure contract before the age of 30.