You know you’re on to something good when you’re a topic of conversation during multiple press conference sessions. Thus is the case for the Las Vegas Raiders Mack Hollins — specifically his post-workout routine.
Known as the “Mack Hollins Mile” it was a kick to see Raiders players and coaches asked about the veteran wide receiver and special teams ace’s contribution to the team. What is it exactly?
“I did partake in the Mack Hollins mile,” tight end Darren Waller said when asked about the particular activity. “This was in the spring, after every lift. So, we’d condition, then we’d lift, and then after the lift we’d go out and run a mile. It’s supposedly a mile. You got to ask Mack. We’re taking his word for it.”
Fellow tight end Foster Moreau had a similar response when asked to elaborate on the Hollins Mile.
“No, it’s just the Mack Hollins mile,” he said. “And it’s definitely a little bit more than a mile which tends to piss some people off, but we get it and we run it and we shut up and just do it. Some people cut corners and some people don’t.”
Even Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels was asked to give his two cents on the post-practice/workout run.
“I heard some guys … I haven’t run that yet. I don’t know what that is. I don’t think I could make that,” McDaniels said laughing. “I’m glad he hasn’t asked me, but great personality.”
To hear Hollins tell it, the run is much longer than a mile and it’s to test his mental grit rather than physical. The ability to do a mile after a workout or practice gives him an added edge when both physical and mental stamina are thoroughly tested.
“It’s probably way further than it actually is. I always run a mile after every workout, then some of the guys started seeing it and they started doing it,” Hollins said. “At this level, every player can run a mile, no problem, after every workout. There’s no time of it. There’s no speed on it. You just have to do it, so it’s just mental. So, you do a hard during OTAs, you do a hard lift and at the end I can still do a mile. When you’re in the third, fourth quarter and I‘m hurting, I can still do a mile and I can still get a couple more plays. That’s the mindset behind it.
“It will go on and off, I don’t do it every day during training camp. I’ll probably do more Mack miles than other guys. It’s two-and-a-half laps, not counting end zones. From bottom left corner goal line around, that’s one lap. Around again, that’s two laps, 150 yards—100 then 50 across, then 50 more yards and then turn around. It’s about 1,600 yards.”
If you ever needed prove or foundational understanding what makes Hollins tick, his run is it. It’s no wonder he’s open to helping a team in any shape or fashions. He’s a wide receiver by trade but the 6-foot-4, 221-pound 28-year-old is also one of the elite special teamers in the league due to his kick coverage ability. You can see McDaniels perk up when asked about Hollins and the head coach can talk about him for days, it seems.
“First of all, another offseason award winner for us,” McDaniels said when asked what Hollins brings to the Raiders’ table. “ I mean, he shows up and does a great job in our strength and conditioning program, brings a ton of his teammates along. Big-time leader. Very unselfish. He’s contributed on offense where he has been at, and he’s contributed in the kicking game and so to me that’s an underrated and really not talked about enough part of our game. It’s a third of our game and this guy is out there on almost every play.
“Tackles, covers, can block for people on the return game and so he does a lot of those things. And the one thing about that is if you’re a core contributor in the kicking game, you are going to be at the game. He’s smart enough to move all over our offense, which is very helpful to him. He’s gotten off to a good start. It’s a very competitive situation in that room. We brought in some guys that have really done a lot of things in some different spots and he’s one of them. We’re eager to see that play out as we go forward here, and we get into some different practices with pads and then some games and that will be something we will be eager to see.”
The ability to switch from offense to special teams — Hollins will be asked to play wide receiver while maintaining his exceptional work as a gunner — and the endurance to do so for all four quarters — not surprisingly — comes from the physical and mental fruits of the Mack Hollins Mile labor.
“Yeah. As I’ve gone along in my career, and even when I was in college, I think conditioning has been a big part,” Hollins said. “You can lift a lot of weights and I don’t want to take stuff away from the weight room as I know that it is really important, I put a lot of emphasis in that too. But if I can stay at 100 for longer than the next guy, even if he’s stronger than me in the first quarter, by the end of the game he’s dropped to such a level because his conditioning is not good. Conditioning is huge for me because I know I may play all four special teams and then also have a role as a receiver. Me saying I’m tired or hurting, that really doesn’t fly because I’m expected to be at my top no matter where I’m placed, and I know I have to be prepared for that.”