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Mack named third best player in NFL by peers


Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack has been voted the third best player in the NFL in a poll of league players conducted by NFL Network.

The six-year NFL veteran was featured on Wednesday night's episode of "The Top 100 Players of 2019," which unveiled the top 10.

In his first season with the Bears last year, Mack was named first-team All-Pro and voted to his fourth straight Pro Bowl. Acquired Sept. 1 in a blockbuster trade with the Raiders, he led Bears with 12.5 sacks, a career-high six forced fumbles and 18 quarterback hits. Mack also ranked second on the team with 10 tackles-for-loss.

"You've got a phenomenal athlete," said new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. "He's a great football player, but he's a better teammate and he's a better person. He doesn't say much, but actions speak louder than words. He's a great worker. He's a smart guy. He picks things up."

Mack's 12.5 sacks last year were the most by a Bears player since Hall of Famer Richard Dent also had 12.5 in 1993. Mack's 12.5 sacks tied for the third most in franchise history behind Dent's 17.5 in 1984 and 17.0 in 1985.

Mack was named the NFC defensive player of the month last September after registering five sacks, four forced fumbles and returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against the Packers. It was a remarkable accomplishment given that he did not participate in training camp or play in any preseason games due to a contract impasse with the Raiders.

"He did it every day," said coach Matt Nagy. "It was all consistent. He never changed. He affects the game just because offenses want to double-, triple- and quadruple-team him and what that does is ultimately creates mismatches and one-on-one battles for the other players."

Mack is one of four Bears—all defenders—to be ranked among the NFL's top 100 players. He's joined by safety Eddie Jackson (No. 30), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (No. 39) and cornerback Kyle Fuller (No. 95).