It turns out Bears100 was more than just a celebration of a century of Chicago football. Because beyond the applause, nostalgia, and all the other things that come with a party 100 years in the making, it was an opportunity for past to meet present, and possibly impact the future.
One player who made the most of his opportunity was Khalil Mack, who talked shop with Hall of Fame pass-rusher Richard Dent. Mack allowing whatever Dent passed along to soak in isn’t just a show of respect from the younger generation to those who came before him, it’s also a sign of wisdom from a star player who is always seeking another edge on his opponent.
As the kids say: “Game recognize game.”
For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time Dent has offered to lend a helping hand to a current member of the Bears. When Leonard Floyd was struggling last November, Dent offered to extend an olive branch in an attempt to help the talented pass-rushing outside linebacker get closer to reaching his potential. And while I’m not sure if it’s coincidental or ironic, Floyd turned things around after Dent made it a point to note how poorly things were going and made an offer to lend a helping hand. In the eight games that came after Dent’s reveal of why Floyd was struggling, Floyd came up with four sacks, eight tackles-for-loss, and nine quarterback hits. If you were to extrapolate those numbers over a full 16-game season, we would be talking about a player with eight sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and 18 quarterback hits.
If Floyd could put up those numbers lined up across Mack next season, then an already great defense will be that much better.
So if you’re an old-school Bears fan and happen to see something from Mack that takes you back to a golden era of Chicago football, it’s probably because Mack was able to apply whatever he was able to take in from his conversations with Dent. Wouldn’t it be cool to see some of Dent’s moves added to Mack’s repertoire?
I think Mack answered best when he said: “Hell yeah.”