Khalil Mack ‘forever grateful' in message to Bears fans

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It was a great four years.

Star linebacker Khalil Mack thanked Chicago in an Instagram post Sunday and was nothing but grateful for his time suiting up in a Bears uniform.

Mack was recently traded to the Los Angeles Chargers for a 2022 2nd-round draft pick and a 2023 6th-round draft pick and was a little surprised by the whole ordeal.

“You don’t really ever anticipate it, even if you know it’s coming, or think it’s coming,” Mack said. “It was weird. It was weird to hear. But understanding the team, the coach, having a relationship with coach (Brandon) Staley, and knowing his mindset, knowing his passion for the game, I kinda went from bittersweet to kinda excited.”

Mack came to the Bears organization in 2018 when the Oakland Raiders (now Las Vegas) traded the linebacker plus second-round and seventh-round picks to Chicago for two first-round picks and third-round and sixth-round choices.

In his introductory press conference for the Chargers, Mack reflected on his tenure in Chicago.

“It’s real special to me, especially that first year,” Mack said. “Having all the pieces, and all the coaching staff together, and everything like that. Having the players, from Kyle Fuller to Prince (Amukamara), to Eddie (Jackson), to (Adrian) Amos, to Akiem (Hicks), to Eddie Goldman, to Danny Trevathan, Leonard Floyd, Roquan (Smith). I could go on and on. Just knowing what that felt like out there, playing with those guys, it was a special time. Special moment in my life, those four years.”

Mack was an outstanding linebacker for the Bears and was a prime example of what it meant to be a Monster of the Midway. In 53 games, Mack sacked opposing quarterbacks 36 times, forced 14 fumbles, recovered six fumbles and intercepted two passes. His 14 fumbles ranked fifth-most in franchise history.

The 31 year old was named to three Pro Bowls with Chicago and came in second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2018.

RELATED: Former Bear Khalil Mack: Trade to Chargers 'weird to hear'

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