‘A real un­easy feel­ing’

Khalil Mack had a hard time watch­ing Bears-Jets from side­line

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Sports - By Colleen Kane Chicago Tri­bune

Bears out­side linebacker Khalil Mack said he had “a real un­easy feel­ing” watch­ing Sun­day’s 24-10 vic­tory over the Jets from the side­line.

Mack sat out for the first time in 71 ca­reer games and is ques­tion­able to play in the 72nd Sun­day against the Bills at New Era Field.

Af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in Fri­day’s prac­tice at Halas Hall in a lim­ited ca­pac­ity for the first time this week, Mack wouldn’t an­swer ques­tions about the in­jured right an­kle that has slowed him for three weeks. Bears coach Matt Nagy con­tin­ued to say the de­ci­sion to play Mack is “day to day.”

But it’s clear what Mack would pre­fer to do.

“It felt dif­fer­ent,” Mack said of miss­ing the game. “I felt like a coach. I just wanted to do what I could as far as help­ing guys un­der­stand what was go­ing to hap­pen early and give the best feed­back I could and be a great team­mate.

“It was a real un­easy feel­ing be­ing over there, but at the same time I’m glad we got the win. Those guys did a heck of a job. They looked real good. Our de­fense looked real good.”

Nagy said he wouldn’t fault Mack for espe­cially want­ing to play at Buf­falo, where he first made a na­tional name for him­self on the foot­ball field at the Uni­ver­sity at Buf­falo. Mack still owns the school ca­reer records with 75 tack­les for loss, 28½ sacks and 16 forced fum­bles, and his brother, Ledar­ius, is a ju­nior de­fen­sive end there.

“It's al­ways cool to go back to where you played in col­lege,” Mack said. “Be­ing that I have a lot of friends and peo­ple out there, my lit­tle brother out there rep­re­sent­ing the Mack name. It’s just real spe­cial when you get to go back to your old stomp­ing grounds.”

Wide re­ceiver Allen Robin­son and rookie de­fen­sive line­man Bi­lal Ni­chols also were listed as ques­tion­able for Sun­day. Robin­son sat out the Jets game with a groin in­jury and was lim­ited in prac­tice Fri­day. Ni­chols has missed two straight prac­tices with a knee in­jury Nagy called “an overusage type deal.”

Nagy said he ex­pects all three to travel with the team, as should guard Eric Kush, who prac­ticed in full af­ter be­ing lim­ited with a neck in­jury ear­lier this week. Left guard Kyle Long (foot) and tight end Ben Brau­necker (con­cus­sion) were de­clared out for the game.

Nagy said he didn’t know if it would come down to game-day test­ing as to whether Mack or Robin­son would play.

“I feel like we’re get­ting close,” he said of Mack. “I just don’t know ex­actly.”

Robin­son said his re­cov­ery is “about be­ing smart,” though the pa­tience isn’t al­ways easy.

“Be­ing side­lined is prob­a­bly the worst thing in sports,” Robin­son said. “This is what you love. This is what you live to do. When you’re not able to do that, it’s def­i­nitely frus­trat­ing.”

JEFF HAYNES/AP

Bears out­side linebacker Khalil Mack lines up against the Pa­tri­ots on Oct. 21 in Chicago. The Pa­tri­ots won 38-31.

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