It’s become borderline cliché to say 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack hits like his namesake 18-wheeler. That kind of branding opportunity wasn’t lost on the good folks at Mack Trucks.
After three devastating seasons in the league and an impressive turnaround in Oakland, the Raiders star has signed the endorsement deal he’s waited for his whole life. The quarterback-crushing linebacker is now a spokesman for America’s most famous manufacturer of 18-wheel tractor-trailers.
Mack — and Mack — announced their newfound relationship on Twitter Wednesday morning.
The partnership all started with a cold call from the linebacker to the company. According to NFL linebacker Mack, fellow Bay Area superstar Draymond Green was the genesis of the partnership, making the obvious connection between their names. That idea wasn’t lost on the young athlete.
“[Green] just texted me one day and said, 'You should do a deal with Mack,' said Mack. “Ever since I was a kid, just hearing my dad talk about Mack Trucks, it always stood out to us and made us feel like we were connected to something important. Something bigger than ourselves.
“Every time I’m on the field, it’s just a part of my thought process. I’m a Mack Truck running through whoever is in front of me.”
Mack took the premise to his agent, and the iconic trucking brand was receptive to the idea.
"Obviously we share the same name, but what really drew us to him, based on what we had heard, was that we seemed to share the same fundamentally American values of hard work, family, honesty and humility," John Walsh, Mack's vice president of global marketing and brand management, told ESPN business bloviator Darren Rovell.
Sadly, the Raider linebacker’s deal likely means Falcons’ center Alex Mack’s chances at landing a deal with the company have run out.
Mack isn’t the only player to earn some sponsorship money thanks to his name. 2017 Cowboys draftee Taco Charlton signed with Taco Bueno and Big Red soda earlier this year. Broncos tight end Jake Butt did the only reasonable thing and landed a deal with Charmin toilet paper.
With one obvious partnership down, Mack just has one more to go. There’s no word yet, however, on whether he’s contacted Mark Morrison to acquire the rights to his hit 1996 song “Return of the Mack.”