Khalil Mack Bringing Bears A Different Drive In 2020

Now 29 and in his seventh season, Mack is as motivated as ever to win a Super Bowl.
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By 670 The Score

(670 The Score) Khalil Mack was the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft, earned the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year honor two years later and has been recognized as a Pro Bowl selection five times.

At 29, Mack is already highly accomplished. He landed a record contract for a defensive player back in 2018 and is on a Hall of Fame trajectory. With all that in mind, Mack still sees time ticking away on his career and one achievement missing -- a Super Bowl ring.

"I want to do a lot individually," Mack said Friday. "But ultimately, when you think about the individual effort, that comes with winning. That’s the only thing I really care about, is winning -- at this stage in my career, getting to the ultimate goal at the end of the season."

It's something the Bears have noticed in Mack this year. During an offseason program conducted virtually, teammates and coaches could sense through Zoom there was something different in him. Mack's relentless work ethic found another level.

Mack is embracing being an elder statesmen for younger teammates by guiding them along in practice. Instead of focusing on himself, Mack is taking the time to work with a rookie like Trevis Gipson and teach proper pass rushing techniques. He's driving teammates with goals of glory in mind.

Bears rookie linebacker Ledarius Mack, a member of the practice squad and Khalil's younger brother, recognizes a different determination in him.

"All I see in his eyes is he wants to win," Ledarius said.

Winning is what Mack often speaks about with linebacker Danny Trevathan, who owns a Super Bowl ring from the 2015 season in Denver.

Mack and Trevathan don't shy away from their goals with the Bears.

"We want to win a championship here -- for everybody, for ourselves, for our legacy, just because everybody in the city of Chicago deserves it," Trevathan said. "We've been going through hard times. We have to put the city on our back and fight for them. That's one thing that we can control, is how we play out there and how we represent Chicago.

"The Super Bowl is always in the back of your mind. Khalil and me, we always talk about that. We always talk about that."

After the Bears went 8-8 in a disappointing 2019 season, Mack was left deeply frustrated. His performance dipped in a campaign that included 8.5 sacks, his fewest since his rookie season in 2014. Though the production drop could be traced in part to dominant defensive lineman Akiem Hicks being sidelined for much of the season by injury, Mack demanded better of himself.

Mack likely has a number of strong seasons ahead in his career, but that doesn't make him content. He's striving now more than ever to earn the championship he so badly wants.

"Charles Woodson, H-O-F, Justin Tuck, H-O-F," Mack said. "I mean, those guys they let me know early on that time goes by. Man, you can't waste any time. It goes by fast. It goes by quicker than you think.

"Every snap counts. Ultimately, winning is everything in this league."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.