Through the first five games with the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack has been an absolute problem for opposing offenses. The 27-year-old the former Defensive Player of the Year has five sacks, four forced fumbles, and one pick six, making him every penny worth the $141 million the Bears shelled out to lure him away from the Raiders.
Von Miller has called him “untradeable.” Bears running back Tarik Cohen said he was “built like a Greek God.” Raiders defensive end Arden Key called him a “freak of nature.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who will face Mack and the Bears this Sunday, showered Mack with high praise during a Wednesday morning press conference, but stopped on a dime when a reporter attempted to make the comparison between Mack and Lawrence Taylor.
Reporter: Bill, you’ve seen a lot of good pass rushers in your career, starting with Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White. Does Mack sort of rank up there as one of the better ones you’ve seen?
Belichick: “Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class, so I’d put everybody down below that. That’s with a lot of respect to a lot of good players now, but we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor.”
Belichick of course coached Taylor as a defensive coordinator on the Giants in the 1980s and openly considers Taylor to be the perfect football player. As NESN points out, Belichick once called Taylor “the best defensive player I ever coached, by a good margin” and when Tom Brady was asked what makes his coach smile, he responded with: “Navy, lacrosse, Bon Jovi and Lawrence Taylor.”
Despite a messy off-the-field life, it’s impossible to discount what he’s done in his 13-year NFL career–four-time Defensive Player of the Year, 1986 MVP, 10 Pro Bowls, eight first-team All-Pro selections, 132 1/2 sacks, and the sole inspiration behind NFL Blitz.