Pace & Nagy drove to meet Khalil Mack at the airport blaring "Return of the Mack"

Zion

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Pace & Nagy drove to meet Khalil Mack at the airport blaring "Return of the Mack"

When Ryan Pace returned home on the final night of August, he was drained. The Bears general manager was in the middle of a taxing weekend of roster cuts and felt the pressure of another regular season closing in. Now though, as he walked into his house late on a Friday night, he had news to share.

Pace's wife, Stephanie, lobbed the obligatory "How was your day?" query.

"It was OK," Pace deadpanned. "Nothing major. We just traded for Khalil Mack."

Wait ... WHAT?!?!

A day earlier, as the Bears prepared for their preseason finale against the Bills, Pace's talks with the Oakland Raiders had grown serious. Suddenly, the pipe dream of making Mack a Bear felt realistic. Then, at 9:22 p.m. on that Friday, the Raiders agreed to Pace's trade offer, simultaneously offering permission for the Bears to contact Mack's agent, Joel Segal, about a contract extension.

Pace offered four draft picks to the Raiders -- a 2019 first-rounder, a 2020 first-rounder, a third-rounder in 2020 and a sixth in 2019. In return, the Bears received Mack, a 2020 second-round pick, a conditional 2020 fifth-rounder and the blowtorch that lit the wick for a surprising playoff run.

Those who, at the time, questioned the practicality of such a trade -- and the six-year, $141 million extension the Bears gave their new star -- have since seen the payoff. Mack's arrival and consistent production have helped push the Bears back onto the postseason stage and, yes, back into the Super Bowl conversation.

Over four magical months, Mack has become the face of this surprising resurgence.

On Khalil Mack's first day as a Bear, he flew from New York's LaGuardia Airport to O'Hare and, in a typical welcome-to-Chicago moment, sat on the runway for close to 90 minutes. The Bears had car service arranged to get Mack from the airport to the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest. But with the runway delay, coach Matt Nagy knew he had to take extra measures to keep his new star comfortable. So Nagy sent Mack a text encouraging him to expedite his dinner order.

Mack responded with a request for a double chicken breast, grilled, with a side of rice and vegetables. And Nagy had yet another epiphany on what already had been an enchanted Saturday. That, the new head coach thought to himself, was similar to the order linebacker Roquan Smith had placed during his April pre-draft dinner with the Bears at Maevery in Lake Bluff.

Solid, healthy choice. This had to be another small meant-to-be sign.

Then came the fun part, with Nagy assembling the greeting party for Mack. First, he found his boys -- 14-year-old Brayden; Tate, 12; and 10-year-old twins Jaxon and Jett.

"What do you guys think about going to meet one of our new players?" Nagy asked.

The boys needed more specifics. Who exactly?

"I told them," Nagy said. "And they just lost their minds."

Nagy was aware he was about to oversee one of the coolest "Take your kids to work" excursions imaginable. All four boys packed into dad's 2018 BMW 750 Series and set off for their first stop, scooping up the man who had pulled off the most eye-popping NFL trade of the year.

When Pace jumped into shotgun in the black Beamer, the Nagy boys plugged an iPhone into the sound system and cranked up the Mark Morrison.

Retuuurn of the Mack. Yes it is.

Retuuurn of the Mack. Come on.

Retuuurn of the Mack. Oh my God.

On a 10-minute drive from Pace's Lake Bluff house to Mack's temporary residence, the giddiness of the boys in the back seat was surpassed by the two NFL bigwigs up front. For 10 minutes, the general manager and head coach of one of the league's charter franchises were little kids themselves, astonished at what they had pulled off.


Just like that, the Bears had filled one of their biggest needs with one of the game's most feared pass rushers. Pace and Nagy couldn't wait to unwrap their new toy.

The initial after-dark introductions in the hotel lobby were to the point. Mack had had a long day. And a long week was ahead. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio also had come to say hello and was struck by Mack's relaxed demeanor.

With direction finally set for his 2018 season, Mack was excited, relieved and eager to get started. Thus, in addition to that chicken dinner, he asked for and received his Bears playbook with Fangio struck by the star edge rusher's purpose.

"I just sensed that he was happy to be here," Fangio said. "I don't know why. I could just sense that he was."

Within four weeks, Mack had a major impact on enlivening the Bears season. In the first half of his first game, he delivered a cartoonish strip-sack of Packers quarterback DeShone Kizer then followed on the next possession with an interception and a 27-yard return for a touchdown.

Read the rest of this article on: https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-khalil-mack-magical-season-htmlstory.html
 

PrideisBears

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Lol thats an awesome story
 
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CaptnSUG

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They are going to use Mack on offense in the playoffs, obviously not as regular but for 3-4 snaps a game. Its going to be the story of the postseason.

They've been working on it for weeks, the players mention it from time to time. The fact Nagy hasn't even shown the packages that feature Mack let me know they are keeping it close to the vest.
 

gwharris2254

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Yes. On occasion someone pipes up that "Mack oughta get called after the characteristic double knock by Nagy on Friday "

Watch him be in the backfield with Hicks acting like Prince on the 2 pt'er back and forth as Trubisky gets the shotgun snap, handsOff to Mack sweep Right with Hicks leading the way and Mack tosses a TD to Burton or Miller on that side
 

Unannounced Fart

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When the trade went down, I remember reading a story that said Gruden opted to trade with the Bears instead of the Packers in part due to his belief that the Bears would end up with a higher draft pick. Look how that turned out :roll:
 

PrideisBears

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When the trade went down, I remember reading a story that said Gruden opted to trade with the Bears instead of the Packers in part due to his belief that the Bears would end up with a higher draft pick. Look how that turned out :roll:

Did it to the niners too. Gruden essentially took two teams to the playoffs. How many coaches can say that?
 

Menchifus

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If Fangio decides to leave, the Bears will be the top DC opening in the league. We'll pretty much have our pick of the best.

And I don't know how much money we'll have to sign free agents (I'm assuming after a few cuts like Sims, White, etc, we'll have some money to sign a couple of free agents) we'll be a top destination for free agents also. Who wouldn't want a VIP pass to Club Dub?!?
 

gwharris2254

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If Fangio leaves when is the Honeymoon at Carolina over ? Rivera would be great with Taub for STs and Gould kicking
 

46FEVER

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Hell no. Spent the last 3 years building a 3-4 no reason at all to change schemes. Got the best 3-4 in the league. Id rather see one of the Ryan boys as dc before switching back.
 

46FEVER

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With this talent Rex Ryan could put together a nasty scheme.
 

Monsieur Tirets

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yea, ive been saying the bears should go after rex ryan if fangio leaves.

hes the only one i wouldnt worry too much about the d losing a step. his d with our talent would be fun. but apparently hes a candidate for the miami hurricanes gig. and also might get an interview with the dolphins.
 

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Yuck, Rivera? I would rather hold out hope on the Browns being stupid enough to let Gregg Williams walk.
 

xer0h0ur

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Did it to the niners too. Gruden essentially took two teams to the playoffs. How many coaches can say that?

Gruden at current standing will get the 27th pick in the 2019 draft if we don't win any more games and if I hat to put money on it then I would wager that number climbs. LOL. Get fucked.
 

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