Amid a challenging 2023 season for the Chargers, who trolled Raiders fans, one shining beacon emerges—Khalil Mack. At 32 years old, he is defying expectations, delivering the most outstanding performance of his illustrious 10-season career.
Surprisingly, amidst his stellar contributions, a recent revelation indicates that the LB contemplated retirement following a blowout loss to the Jaguars last season.
Khalil Mack almost retired after Chargers blew 27-0 lead to Jaguar
After the Chargers’ 27-0 lead loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who dropped Josh Pederson, in the AFC Wild Card Game, Khalil Mack with 15 sacks in the season, considered retirement.
The LB expressed dissatisfaction, feeling he didn’t impact the game as expected, prompting thoughts of retirement.
“‘I didn’t feel like I affected the game the way I wanted to, or the way that I know I’m capable of,” Mack said. “I contemplated hanging them up, man.”
Coach Brandon Staley and edge rushers coach Giff Smith allowed Mack time to reflect during the offseason. Mack’s wife, Brianna Perry, disagreed with his retirement contemplation, leading to his decision to return.
Motivated by the pursuit of a Super Bowl ring, the LB returned to the Chargers for what became an All-Pro-caliber season. Initially expected to be Mack’s last year with the Chargers, his 2024 contract’s $38.5 million cap hit raised uncertainties.
Despite potential salary cap challenges, Khalil Mack’s outstanding performance in a potential 20-sack season complicates the decision to retain him.
Questions arise about paying over $38 million for a 33-year-old player and Mack’s future drive after a dominant 2023 season without playoff success. Mack’s hunger for a Super Bowl might lead to him accepting a cut, creating a situation where he seeks an expensive one-year deal elsewhere.
The upcoming offseason is anticipated to be intriguing, considering the LB’s performance, contract situation, and potential team dynamics.
Khalil Mack having his best season so far
In his 10th season at 32 years old, Khalil Mack is having the best season of his career. He set a new Chargers record with an extraordinary six sacks in one game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 4.
Through 12 games, the LB has achieved a career-high with 15 sacks, putting him on pace to finish with 21 sacks for the season. If he reaches 21 sacks, he will become the fourth player in NFL history to record 20 or more sacks in his 30s and the second to do so at 32 or older.
Mack sits atop the standings with his career-high after 13 weeks, showcasing his dominance in the league.
Despite the LB’s individual success, the Chargers are struggling in the 2023 season, currently two games out of the final AFC Wild Card spot with a 5-7 record. The team’s defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in points allowed and has allowed the fourth-most yards.
The Chargers, needing to win four of their last five games, have a slight chance of making back-to-back playoff appearances, potentially thanking Khalil Mack for not retiring.
Despite the team’s struggles, Khalil Mack’s performance underscores the significance of his decision not to retire, proving to be a pivotal asset for the Chargers.