It was seemed apparent Dec. 20 when Khalil Mack seemed to scuttle the thought of playing in the Pro Bowl.
Mack will not be playing Sunday for the NFC. It's the second straight year he made it with the Bears and second straight time he opted not to go due to a previously unannounced injury.
It's also the second straight time the Bears' outside linebacker didn't go due to a previously unmentioned injury. Last year it was a knee. This time the Bears didn't announce what the injury was which would prevent Mack from playing.
On Dec. 20 Mack was asked about playing in the Pro Bowl and his response was: "Next question."
Asked again, he said, "Next question."
When asked why he didn't want to talk about it, Mack said, "Talk about what?"
Told the Pro Bowl, Mack responded, "Oh man, that's ... next question."
It's fairly common for big names to skip the meaningless exhibition, a game which rarely resembles actual tackle football.
Last year Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Zach Ertz, J. J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney all joined Mack in skipping the game.
Mack has made the Pro Bowl five times but the first three were with the Raiders and for the AFC.
Safety Eddie Jackson, cornerback Kyle Fuller and special teams performer Cordarrelle Patterson will represent the Bears in Orlando at Camping World Stadium in the 2 p.m. game
Mack will be replaced by Green Bay's Za'Darius Smith, who seemed to be on a one-man crusade to get himself into the Pro Bowl over the last month.
Mack finished this season with 8 1/2 sacks after picking up 12 1/2 last year.