Skip to main content

Von Miller might be the only one at Denver Broncos headquarters lamenting Khalil Mack’s startling trade from the Oakland Raiders to the Chicago Bears.

“I mean, honestly, I was shocked,” Miller said. “I always felt like Khalil and Aaron Donald were untradeable guys. … A guy like Khalil, he only comes around once every lifetime. You want to keep guys like that.”

The Broncos’ star linebacker said it’s “going to be a little weird” Sunday not seeing his friend, whom he’s trained with the past two summers, when the Raiders (0-1) visit Denver (1-0), where Mack once collected five sacks in a single half.

“He’s talented,” Broncos quarterback Case Keenum said, “but I’m pretty sure they’re going to play 11 guys. They’re not just going to put 10 out there without him.”

Raiders new/old coach Jon Gruden said he’s been asked aplenty about the trade that sent shock waves through the NFL and smiles across locker rooms across the AFC West.

“And rightfully so,” Gruden said. “He’s a great guy. He’s a great player. It’s unfortunate we don’t have him. But we feel we did the right thing for this football team, for the future of the Raiders and for this building process.

“I know we’ve got to prove it. But so does he.”

Mack began doing just that Sunday night at Green Bay, fresh off signing a six-year, US$141-million contract, US$26.5-million more than Miller got in 2016 in the shadows of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance.

Hours after Miller wrecked Seattle’s game plan by sacking Russell Wilson three times and snaring the ball out of power back Chris Carson’s arms for a forced fumble and fumble recovery, Mack burst into the NFC North conversation with a pick-6 and a strip sack of backup QB DeShone Kizer in which he, too, snatched the ball from his opponent.

Whereas Miller’s showing led to a 27-24 Denver victory, Mack’s dominant debut was rendered a footnote when Aaron Rodgers returned from a knee injury at halftime to lead the Packers back from a 20-point deficit for a 24-23 win.

One night later, the Raiders lost 33-13 to the Rams, barely touching quarterback Jared Goff just over a week after trading their star pass rusher to the Bears for a package that included two first-round picks. Bruce Irvin had the only sack when Goff held the ball too long.

Interact with The Globe