January 23, 2021

Bears running back David Montgomery is 'ready to go' after concussion

Bears running back David Montgomery has passed through concussion protocol and is “ready to go,” he said Wednesday.

Montgomery suffered a concussion Nov. 8 against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tennessee. Montgomery missed the final six minutes of that game, then sat out the entire contest against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 16. With the Bears on a bye last weekend, he had an additional week to recover.

Montgomery returned to the field for practice Monday, when the Bears had a light practice with no pads at Halas Hall in Lake Forest.

“I’ve never had [a concussion] this severe,” Montgomery said. “It was definitely different, but I’m fine now. We went through the protocol. The training staff has been great with me, being sure that I come back when I’m ready.”

Having Montgomery back in the starting lineup will be a boon for the Bears offense. The Bears didn’t have a true lead back without Montgomery against the Vikings. Converted receiver Cordarrelle Patterson led the Bears with a career-high 12 carries, which went for 30 yards.

Rookie Artavis Pierce saw three carries and third-year back Ryan Nall had one. Veteran Lamar Miller, playing for the first time since 2018 after suffering an ACL tear last year, caught two passes out of the backfield.

Without Montgomery, the Bears rushed for just 41 yards in the game.

Montgomery found it hard to sit at home and watch his team struggle in a 19-13 loss to the Vikings. But the 2019 third-round draft pick thought it was important for his long-term health that he take the concussion seriously.

“If I would have forced myself to play or not communicate it, it could affect me long-term in my life for when I have my children, when I have my family,” Montgomery said. “That’s one thing that I don’t ever want to do and that I don’t want to ever regret doing is taking an injury and not communicating because I want to be a tough guy. I know how tough I am, but to sum it up, you’ve got to communicate with [the training staff], take care of yourself.”

Montgomery said the No. 1 thing he learned from the experience was how hard it is to sit at home and watch his teammates on TV.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Monday that having Montgomery back would mean more than simply returning another playmaker into the lineup.

“He’s a leader in that huddle and he does it [with] a quiet manner,” Nagy said. “This guy, he’s a fighter, and I know it just killed him to miss that game. But I think being able to have him get back, just that level of confidence and that toughness that he brings to the huddle and every time he touches the football, I know that he’s a complete team player.”

The Bears are the worst run team in the NFL right now, averaging 78.2 yards per game. Much of that is not Montgomery’s fault. The offensive line has been spotty in front of him.

At 5-5, the Bears enter a pivotal final stretch, which begins with the Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. Having the team's top running back will help.

“I’m never one to lose hope or ever lose faith in the process,” Montgomery said. “You just keep coming out here every week, going to work and focus on what you can control.”

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.