Look for more on Eric Mack and the continuing Auburn story in print editions of The Times and Democrat Tuesday morning and at TheTandD.com
Auburn Tigers offensive lineman Eric Mack didn’t even realize what had happened to him late Saturday night.
The former T&D Elite 11 lineman from Calhoun County was at a gathering with friends at an apartment complex near campus just before chaos ensued.
“I just wanted to make sure everybody was safe,” Mack recalled in a phone interview late Sunday night from Auburn, Ala. “I wasn’t even worried about myself. When I first found out I got shot, I didn’t even really realize it. I was still walking around checking on my teammates making sure they were all right.”
Mack, who signed to play for the Tigers in 2010 after decommitting from South Carolina, was shot in the buttocks and is experiencing soreness from the gunshot wound.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It just seemed unreal. Even now, it still seems unreal. I couldn’t believe it.”
According to friends who saw Mack during his time in the hospital, he was in relatively good spirits considering he lost two former teammates in Ed Christian and LaDarious Phillips. Even with his concern for his teammates, the biggest concern that came to his mind was Kaliyah, his 4-year-old daughter.
“My daughter was on my mind ever since last night when I heard the gunshots,” Mack said. “That’s the first thing I thought about. I thought, ‘If I don’t make it home, who’s going to take care of her?’ That’s what lifted my spirit. When I talked to her, that was really good for me.”
But his daughter wasn’t the only person who contacted Mack during his short stint in the hospital. Mack received well-wishes from former teammates at Calhoun County including Alshon Jeffery, Shamier Jeffery and David Sims, as well as all of his coaches at Auburn.
According to Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, Mack is expected to make a full recovery. However, Mack has not received a timetable regarding any rehabilitation and expects to meet with team doctors on Monday. Nevertheless, the incident gave Mack a different outlook on life.
“I’m really relieved,” Mack said. “It was definitely an eye opener for me. I actually look at it as motivation. Now I can go out there and do something for myself and my family ... especially for my teammates’ families.
Because they’re not here to do it for them, I feel like that’s one of my responsibilities now.”