Mack shoots straight: Don­ald ‘1 of the best’

Chicago Tribune - - CHICAGO SPORTS - By Colleen Kane

Bears out­side line­backer Khalil Mack didn’t see fit to make com­par­isons be­tween him­self and Aaron Don­ald on Fri­day.

But that doesn’t mean he lacks ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the Rams de­fen­sive tackle, whom he called “one of the best in the league.”

“You can’t re­ally com­pare an edge guy and an in­side guy, but when you talk about his mo­tor, there’s noth­ing like it,” Mack said. “It jumps out on film.”

Sol­dier Field will be the show­case Sun­day night for two of the best and high­est-paid de­fen­sive play­ers in the NFL as the Bears play host the Rams. Don­ald, who leads the NFL with a whop­ping 16½ sacks, signed his six-year, $135 mil­lion con­tract this off­sea­son one day be­fore Mack topped him with a six-year, $141 mil­lion con­tract with the Bears.

“See­ing some­body get what they earned is al­ways

a bless­ing,” Mack said Fri­day of Don­ald’s con­tract. “I mean, you (couldn’t) re­ally get ex­cited at that point, but I was just ready to play foot­ball again.”

Don­ald and the Rams de­fense will get a Bears of­fense back at full strength af­ter quar­ter­back Mitch Tru­bisky prac­ticed in full for a third straight day Fri­day. Af­ter miss­ing two games with a right shoul­der in­jury, Tru­bisky is in line to start for the first time since he helped the Bears beat the Vik­ings in their last Sun­day night game Nov. 18.

Mean­while, Mack, who has nine sacks and five forced fum­bles, will be charged with help­ing to stop a Rams of­fense av­er­ag­ing 439.9 yards per game. That in­cludes 139.4 yards on the ground, driven by NFL rush­ing leader Todd Gur­ley.

“It takes all 11 play­ers on de­fense get­ting to the ball,” Mack said of stop­ping Gur­ley. “One of the best backs in the league. It’s a tough chal­lenge for us.

The Rams, who clinched the NFC West last week, can clinch a first-round play­off bye with a vic­tory Sun­day. The Bears are look­ing to ex­tend their NFC North lead over the Vik­ings.

“It's never about be­ing good enough,” Mack said. “It's about win­ning ball­games, and do­ing what­ever it takes by any means to put your­self in a po­si­tion to win. And us be­ing dom­i­nant is some­thing that's ob­vi­ously the goal.”

In­jury re­port: Bears safety Ed­die Jack­son didn’t prac­tice Fri­day be­cause of a shin in­jury and is ques­tion­able for Sun­day’s game. Coach Matt Nagy said it was “a lit­tle bit of a rest day” for Jack­son be­cause the Bears prac­ticed in­side on the turf and added there is “noth­ing ma­jor there at all.”

De­fen­sive line­man Bi­lal Ni­chols also was lim­ited in prac­tice with a knee is­sue, as he usu­ally is on Fri­days when the Bears prac­tice in­doors. He is ques­tion­able.

Backup safety Deon Bush, who is deal­ing with a ham­string in­jury, didn’t prac­tice and is doubt­ful.

MAR­CIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP

Rams de­fen­sive tackle Aaron Don­ald, sack­ing Aaron Rodgers, leads the NFL with 16 1/2.

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