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Khalil Mack (52) had 36 sacks in 53 games over iv seasons with the Bears.

Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Photos

Former Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack was watching the Television receiver show “Bel-Air” with his fiancée and son concluding week when he got a call from agent Joel Segal telling him that he had been traded to the Chargers and would exist heading to Los Angeles.

“Kind of a strange coincidence,” he said. “Only it was weird to hear.”

Mack was surprised to be traded but not shocked. He knew the Bears’ landscape had changed when general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy were fired later on the 2021 season. He had non talked to new GM Ryan Poles until afterward Segal broke the news that Mack had been traded to the Chargers for a 2022 second-circular typhoon pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick.

“Dissimilar GM, non the GM that traded for me, so you never know what tin can happen in those situations,” Mack said Midweek in a news briefing with Los Angeles reporters. “I use common sense in certain situations, then I felt like peradventure information technology was a chance. Only who knows?”

Modify was expected when Poles was hired to replace Pace. Simply the Mack trade was the clearest indication that the Bears under new management would be more of a renovation than a transition. Poles and new coach Matt Eberflus are putting their own stamp on the franchise, and it’due south looking more and more like a repudiation of the Pace government.

Players who could take been part of the transition — even from a iii-four to a 4-iii defensive alignment — take been discarded.

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Mack was traded. Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols signed with the Raiders. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman was released. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is on the marketplace and a long shot to return.

On offense, baby-sit James Daniels, who at 24 hands could have been a keeper, signed an affordable three-year, $26.5 meg contract with the Steelers. Even Justin Fields — the most valuable asset Pace left Poles — has to prove he’s indeed the franchise quarterback the Bears are hoping for.

When Pace was hired in 2015, he kept Jay Cutler, tried to make 3-4 outside linebackers out of Jared Allen and Willie Young and plant a spot for Shea McClellin. But early indications are that Poles and Eberflus are a little more than strict nearly plumbing equipment round pegs into round holes.

The housecleaning connected Wednesday, when the Bears released inside linebacker Danny Trevathan — an predictable motion subsequently Trevathan, 31, missed 12 games last season considering of a knee injury.

The Bears also appear previously reported costless-amanuensis signings: former Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (three years, $40.5 1000000), one-time Packers center/guard Lucas Patrick (two years, $8 million) and former Raiders linebacker Nicholas Morrow (one year, $five million).

As for Mack, he said his reunion with coach Brandon Staley, who was his position coach with the Bears, took some of the sting out of the trade. “I kind of went from bittersweet to kind of excited,” he said.

He also expressed gratitude for his time in Chicago, particularly a glorious first flavor in 2018 with Vic Fangio and Staley, when the Bears’ defence force was the all-time in the NFL and Mack was runner-up to Aaron Donald for the Defensive Role player of the Year Honour.

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“It’s existent special to me,” Mack said, “especially that beginning twelvemonth, having all the pieces and all the coaching staff together. Having the players — Kyle Fuller to Prince [Amukamara] to Eddie [Jackson] to [Adrian] Amos to Eddie Goldman to Leonard Floyd, Danny Trevathan, Roquan [Smith].

“I could become on and on. Just just knowing what that felt like out at that place, playing with those guys, it was a special fourth dimension, a special moment in my life. Those are iv years [that] I’ll never forget. And I give thanks that organization for taking the chance on me.”

But while the trade signaled a new direction for the Bears under Poles, it’due south as well a fresh showtime for Mack, who knows his star diminished concluding season when he missed the last 10 games considering of a foot injury. He indicated he is “100% good to go.”

“Understanding what the narrative is about me right know, I can’t expect,” Mack said. “You turn on the TV; y’all hear what they’re saying. Information technology’s like, ‘OK, I’ll bet on myself whatsoever mean solar day.’ ’’

Source: https://chicago.suntimes.com/bears/2022/3/16/22982118/khalil-mack-grateful-for-his-bears-career-it-was-a-special-time