Khalil Mack 2014 Year End Press Conference Transcript
By Chase Ruttig
Fifth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, outside linebacker Khalil Mack came to the Oakland Raiders with plenty of expectation for a player who was once unheard of when he started his collegiate career at the University of Buffalo. The second highest defensive player taken in the 2014 Draft, Mack was expected to be one of the best rookies of the class and delivered on that expectations to turn into one of the best outside linebackers in the league according to Pro Football Focus.
Mack’s season sack totals may not have reached the double digits, but beyond the box score he was a player who compiled plenty of quarterback pressures in addition to being an elite run stopper on the edge when teams made the foolish decision to attempt to block the rookie with a tight end. When the Defensive Rookie of the Year award is handed out in early 2015, Mack is going to be one of the leading candidates.
After an outstanding rookie year, Mack took the time to give a year end interview to the media at the Raiders facility before the team exited for the offseason. Mack touched on what he has learned in his first NFL season, going from the University of Buffalo to Oakland, his relationship with Justin Tuck and Tony Sparano before of course answering questions on his level of optimism for next season.
Following is a transcript of Mack’s interview courtesy of the Raiders official team website:
Q: How has it been to be around a guy like Justin Tuck?
Mack: “No doubt. It’s an advantage from my point of view having a guy like that in the locker room, not only on the field but off the field and learning a lot from him as far as business-wise and all those different things.”
Q: What was the final team meeting like? What was the message from Coach Sparano?
Mack: “Coach Sparano, he knows how to keep a group together and keep you confident in everything that you think about, especially in the offseason, knowing that you have a lot to get better at. That’s the main thing he wanted us to know, to hold our heads high and to come back and fight.”
Q: Did you learn anything about yourself this year?
Mack: “I learned that I’m a competitor, I’m going to fight no matter what. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s the way it always will be.”
Q: What were the things that jumped out at you about being an NFL player?
Mack: “You have a lot of time to dedicate to this game, the way you use it is the way you’ll see it reciprocated on Sundays. The time you put in taking care of your body and studying the game is what you’re going to get out of it on Sunday, and that’s what I’ve learned.”
Q: Did you learn things that you can refine and change?
Mack: “There are a lot of different things you can refine and change, but at the end of the day you’ve got to continue to get better and that’s one of the things I know for myself. I know you’ve got to get better in every phase of the game, there’s nothing that you can’t get better at playing this game.”
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Q: How tough was it going from Top 5 draft pick to the record that it is?
Mack: “That’s the thing, you just try not to think about that even though you feel like, it’s a lot on your plate as far as that goes but at the end of the day you’ve got to keep fighting and do what you can. That’s all that it is.”
Q: What’s optimism like?
Mack: “Optimism is a good word. We’re very optimistic as far as that goes, knowing that you have a great foundation here and we want to keep building on it.”
Quotes courtesy of Raiders.com