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Mack thrilled to join resurgent Bears defense

One day after being traded from the Raiders to the Bears, Khalil Mack described the last 24 hours as a "whirlwind" Sunday at his introductory press conference.

"It happened fast, but I'm blessed and I'm thankful and I'm glad to be here," Mack told reporters at Halas Hall. "It's been exciting. It's new and I'm looking forward to it. I really can't wait. I'm itching. It's been a long time since I played football."

The Bears acquired Mack in a blockbuster deal Saturday along with a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick in exchange for their 2019 first-round pick, 2020 first-round pick, 2020 third-round pick and 2019 sixth-round pick.

Mack was selected by the Raiders with the fifth choice in the 2014 draft. Starting all 64 games the past four seasons, the 6-3, 252-pounder has compiled 327 tackles, 40.5 sacks, one interception, 17 pass breakups, nine forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

A two-time All-Pro who was named NFL defensive player of the year in 2016, Mack has been voted to the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons after recording 15.0 sacks in 2015, 11 in 2016 and 10.5 in 2017.

Mack is eager to learn the Bears playbook and begin to work with his new teammates and coaches. "I love the game of football," he said. "That's what I'm all about."

Mack had been holding out with the Raiders and did not participate in Oakland's offseason program, training camp or preseason games while seeking a new contract.

The Bears signed Mack to a lucrative six-year extension through 2024. Asked whether there's any pressure that comes with being the NFL's highest paid defensive player, he said: "Absolutely. I'd be lying if I told you [there wasn't]. But just based on how hard I work and how hard I play, I want to be able to go out and show why.

"I've always thought of myself as the best defensive player in the league and I want to play like the best defensive player in the league. I just want to be the best at what I do."

Mack is thrilled to join a resurgent Bears defense that ranked ninth in the NFL in points allowed and 10th in total yards last season.

"It's just that feeling that they're excited to have you, and just understanding what's going on over here right now," Mack said. "It's an exciting time to be a Chicago Bear. You have young talent, and on the defensive side of the ball, you definitely have some dogs. I'm looking forward to getting out there with them dogs."

Mack already has a pretty good idea of who he'll be lining up with.

"I met Akiem [Hicks] this morning," he said. "You talk about Leonard [Floyd], speed off the edge. Kyle Fuller, he's a corner that comes up and tackles like a linebacker. You've got those guys that are definitely some dogs."

Mack described himself as a hard worker and a great teammate. "That's the two most important things that you can pretty much say at this point for me," he said. "I'm going to come in and be a hard worker and I'm going to try to lead by example and be a great teammate, and everything on the field is going to take care of itself."

Mack possesses an appreciation for football history and is cognizant of the Bears' rich tradition. He described the famed 1985 Super Bowl XX championship defense with two words: "Pure domination."

"That's what I want to be a part of here," he said. "The 1985 Bears defense, just thinking about those days, seeing all the NFL Films and just reminiscing about those times, you want to bring those times back to the present."

Look behind the scenes at new Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack's first day at Halas Hall after the blockbuster trade.

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