With almost every Chicago Bears legend under one roof last weekend, it’d be hard to blame fans attending the Bears 100 celebration for being a little overwhelmed. In fact, the level of prestige at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont even left some of the current Bears’ players star-struck.
“Oh man, it was amazing,” Khalil Mack said on Tuesday, from the podium at Halas Hall. “Getting to see all the Hall of Famers and all the past players. It was an honor to be a part of this rich history around the Bears’ organization. Just taking it all in, it was amazing.”
An obvious point of interest from the weekend was Mack’s conversations with Bears icon Richard Dent. The two pass rushing legends got to chat extensively at the event, going back and forth for close to half an hour. For Mack, the conversation was the highlight of a weekend jam-packed with them.
“Talking to Richard Dent definitely was one of [my favorite moments,]” he said. “Getting his input on the game. Not only that, after I talked to him I played it back and saw what he actually did throughout his whole career here, and it is very special. That definitely has got to be one of my favorite moments.”
As it stands today, 32 pass rushers stand between Mack and Dent, the latter of which still holds the Bears’ franchise record for career sacks (124.5). Despite the 112 sacks that separate the two, Dent sees much of himself -- and the Bears’ 1985 defense -- in Mack and Co.
“When you look at it, (Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd) and then you got (Akiem) Hicks in the middle, you can’t double everybody,” Dent said over the weekend at the Bears100 Celebration in Rosemont. “That’s just like us. To me, this team looks just like us in ’84, ’85 when we really started to jell to be the best we could be competing with one another.”
Throughout different moments of the 2018 season, videos of a pass-rushing Mack knocking down offensive linemen with just one arm not only went viral, but soon became the norm. With every feat of comically-Herculean strength he would perform, the more his legend -- both in Chicago and on the national stage -- grew. So when Mack and Dent were seen talking over the weekend, speculation about what the two discussed, or any advice that was given, ran wild.
“[He was] a dominant force coming off the edge,” Mack added. “The things that he showed me is exactly what he did. The same things. Just understanding angles and understanding—he kept telling me about basketball, how you check up somebody in basketball. The same way he kind of put his elbow on somebody is the same thing I saw on the film.”
When asked whether fans could expect Mack to incorporate some of Dent’s technique, or at least some of the tips he got, into the arsenal next season, Mack kept it short and sweet, smiling from ear-to-ear.