Mack used the festive occasion to pick the brain of Bears Hall of Fame pass-rusher Richard Dent, who was more than willing to offer any and all tips to Mack during the course of a conversation that lasted approximately 30 minutes.
“Talking to Richard Dent was definitely one of the highlights of my weekend,” Mack said on Tuesday at the beginning of the Bears’ three-day mandatory minicamp. “Getting his input on the game. After I talked to him, I went back and watched the highlights to see what he actually did here during his career. It was very special.
“You can tell he still loves the game and he wanted to teach everything he knew in one little sitting. It was cool to chat with him for about 30 minutes.”
Dent, the MVP of Super Bowl XX, is the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks with 124.5. He also holds the club records for most sacks in a season (17.5) and a game (4.5).
Dent became a full-time starter for the Bears in 1984 and went on to record 10 or more sacks in eight of the following 10 seasons. At the time of his retirement, Dent ranked third on the all-time sacks list.
“Man … dominant,” Mack said of Dent. “A dominant force coming off the edge. The things that he showed me are 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.”
By virtue of spending his first four years in Oakland, Mack, 28, may fall short of breaking Dent’s all-time Bears’ sack record, but Mack could one day lay claim to the title of Chicago’s most feared pass-rusher.
A former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Mack had 12.5 sacks for the Bears last season, without the benefit of having any participation in the offseason program or training camp; Chicago traded for Mack prior to Week 1 of the 2018 regular season.
Mack has been a fixture at the Bears’ facility during this year’s offseason workouts, and the expectations for Mack in Year 2 are even higher.
But the real question: Can Mack use any of the advice Dent passed on to him?
“Hell yeah,” Mack said with a smile.