Raiders top 2014 draft pick Khalil Mack is not much of a talker. And since the moment he was drafted last May, he has been forced to do a lot of it. You can see it on his face and hear it in his words that he is just about over it all. No one is more eager to hit the field and let his actions do the talking more than Mack.
"I've been doing a lot of talking involved with this level of play and I'm not a talker," said Mack. "I'm all about action. I like to go out and play football and show you what I can do instead of telling you."
"I can't tell you what kind of player I am or what player I'm gonna be, but I can show you."
Mack said something similar during manadatory minicamp. That was nearly two months ago. He then said when he arrived at camp just how excited he was to finally get to put on pads. That was a month ago. Now he will get to put those pads on and really hit somebody. For him, this Friday when the Raider Friday when the Raiders face the Vikings in Minnesota, is a day that has been a long time coming.
"I'm excited," said Mack. "Can't wait to get out there and see what it's like to put on them pads and really go at it with another NFL team on the other side of the ball."
The prize in this game for Mack will be Vikings rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. Mack was drafted as a pass rusher primarily and as the starter, he and Bridgewater should get a few series to see who comes out ahead.
Mack saw Bridgewater play firsthand last season when he attended the Russell Athletic Bowl between Bridgewater's Louisville Cardinals and the Miami Hurricanes. It would be Bridgewater's final game of his college career and he made it count with a 36-9 trouncing of the Hurricanes.
"I actually went to that bowl game," said Mack. "My cousin Luther Robinson is down there playing D-tackle against him because he goes to the University of Miami and I happened to be in Orlando and saw them get a little... it got out of hand down there, so yeah he's a great player."
Out of hand is a good way to put it. Bridgewater himself threw for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns to send off his college career with a bang. Mack and the Raiders defense would like to make his welcome to the NFL moment be more of a whimper.
"[Bridgewater] is a great player," Mack continued. "You look forward to playing against great competition. And that's what this game is all about. What it's about being a competitor. He's mobile, he's got a great arm and I look forward to going against him and whoever else."
Even with as tired of the media tour, his aversion to talking about himself, his anxiousness to play in a real game, and the excitement that comes with it, Mack's demeanor remains calm and collected. And regardless of the stage, as he would tell you his level of play on the field doesn't change from game to game either.
"You can say it's elevating in excitement but even then it's still football. It's the same game that you put on the pads on Saturday morning when you're in Pop Warner and you get that same feeling in your gut as soon as you hit that first person, it's the same game all over again. And that's the same feeling I keep feeling no matter what level, no matter who I'm playing."
But he won't be telling you what to expect from him when that time comes. All he will say is "We'll be able to see Friday."
Yes, we will. And a great many people, including yours truly, are very much looking forward to seeing it.