Khalil Mack says he’ll try - he’ll really try - to make sure his emotions don’t get the best of him Sunday in London when he Chicago Bears face the Oakland Raiders.
But Mack also admits that he wants to make Oakland “pay” for last year, when the Raiders and Jon Gruden shipped him off to another team rather than pay him what he’d earned as one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers.
‘Vindictiveness? I like that word’
Mack met with media on Tuesday, and of course the topic of facing his old team for the first time was a topic.
Via the Chicago Tribune, Mack was asked if there’s a feeling of vindictiveness for him, and he responded with a wide smile.
“Vindictiveness?,” he said. “I like that word. Yeah. I mean, that’s the whole point, man. You can’t play this game with too much emotion, man. Ultimately, I try to stay focused on the task at hand and understanding the situation and understanding what they’re going to be thinking that I feel.
“But ultimately, I’m going to go out there and do what I do. And that’s play football and love the game that I play.”
He is happy to be in Chicago, and said he knows he can’t let his emotions take over.
“Absolutely there’s feelings that you suppress, but it’s also no big deal to me. I’m here. I love the Bears. We’re gonna go out and try to get this win,” Mack said.
Khalil Mack with the Oakland Raiders
Khalil Mack with the Oakland Raiders
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 10: Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) on the bench in the fourth quarter of an AFC West showdown between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs on December 10, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The Chiefs won 26-15. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Khalil Mack of the Buffalo Bulls poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #5 overall by the Oakland Raiders during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 08: Khalil Mack (L) of the Buffalo Bulls and Johnny Manziel of the Texas A&M Aggies are introduced during the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on May 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
08 MAY 2014: Khalil Mack on the Red Carpet at the 2014 NFL Draft. The 2104 NFL Draft was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack (52) runs drills during a practice session at the Oakland Raiders Napa Valley Training Complex in Napa, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)(Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images)
15 August 2014: Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack during action in an NFL preseason game against the Detroit Lions at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA. The Raiders posted a 27-26 victory. (Photo by Daniel Gluskoter/ICON SMI/Corbis via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Brandian Ross #29 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates with teammates Tarell Brown #23 and Khalil Mack #52 during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on November 20, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled by Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders during the game at O.co Coliseum on November 20, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
December 21, 2014: Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) on Sunday, December 21, 2014, at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. (Photo by Al Golub/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 31: Outside linebacker for the Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack attends the 4th Annual NFL Honors at Phoenix Convention Center on January 31, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27, 2015: Linebacker Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates a sack during a game against the Cleveland Browns on September 27, 2015 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Oakland won 27-20. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders defensive end and outside lineman Khalil Mack is photographed at their training camp in Napa, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)(Digital First Media Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - AUGUST 18: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders warms up before the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on August 18, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Defensive end Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders is defended by tight end Jacob Tamme #83 of the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California. The Atlanta Falcons defeated the Oakland Raiders 35-28. Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 09: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders runs onto the field during player introduction prior to playing the San Diego Chargers in an NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders sacks Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos in their game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 31: Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) at the Oakland Raiders Versus Seattle Seahawks game on August 31, 2017 at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders warms up on the field prior to the AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)'n'n
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders reacts after he sacked Josh McCown #15 of the New York Jets at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders leaves the field after a win against the New York Giants at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 3, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 17: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders sacks Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 17, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 25: Khalil Mack #52 of the Oakland Raiders smiles prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 25, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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‘Make them pay for it’
That doesn’t mean, however, that this is just another game and that he won’t be fueled by his feelings toward the Raiders.
“Yeah, man. You can’t tell?,”Mack said. “You could say I’m suppressing the emotional side, but the other side is to go out and make them pay for it.”
But if you’re looking for chirping, you probably won’t see it from Mack.
“I mean, you could talk all day, man. But I ain’t a talker. I just want to go out and show it. And I’m going to let that be that,” he said.
When the Raiders drafted him at No. 5 in 2014, he thought he’d start and finish his career with the organization.
“That’s the expectation, man,” he said. “When you get drafted to a team, you want to be there for the long haul and bring championships and all those good things. It’s the business side of it that doesn’t really let you do that.”
Mack was traded 13 months ago, with Oakland getting two first-round picks in the exchange; the Bears have gotten 17 sacks and 22 quarterback hits in his first 18 regular-season games in Chicago, and Mack signed a monster $141 million contract.