New Detroit Lions RB David Montgomery excited to join ‘team starting something crazy’

In his first few seasons with the Chicago Bears, David Montgomery had the Detroit Lions circled on the schedule as a game he could “enjoy” at.

Everything changed last year.

“When I played these guys last year, I’m sure they circled us,” said Montgomery. “I’m just trying to feel the morale and see what kind of energy these guys bring, I’m looking forward to it. I only have a brief chat with (several Lions players) and understand that they are building something special here (now). I can be a part of that, so I’m ready to roll.”

Bears running back David Montgomery (32) charges as Lions lineback Alex Anzalone pursues at Ford Field in Detroit on Jan. 1, 2023.

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Montgomery signed a $18 million three-year free agent deal Thursday to become the new feature of the Lions back.

After four productive seasons with the Bears, he said the chance to play behind a top-flight offensive line on a high-profile offense drew him to his former division rival “with a team that’s starting something crazy.”

The Lions, one of the worst teams in the NFL in Montgomery’s first three seasons, went 9-8 last year, ending their first winning record since 2017. They swept the season streak with the Bears and won 31-30 in the Soldier Field November and 41-10 at Ford Field in January, holding Montgomery for 61 yards with 15 carries in those games.

“You could tell,” Montgomery said. “You could kind of see on the sidelines like they have an infectious energy that each of them brings to each other. You feel it on the other side of the ball. And to be able to see how well they run the ball, I’m looking forward to seeing that too. To see these big boys up front, yeah, I’m super excited.

Montgomery led the Bears in three of his four years in Chicago, rushing for 3,609 yards and 26 touchdowns while mostly playing behind a patchwork offensive line.

He had career-lows of 801 rushing yards and five touchdowns last season, but he had the highest forced missed tackle rate of any back with 125 or more carries. according to Fantasy Points Data.

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) scores while Detroit Lions middle linebacker Alex Anzalone defends in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, October 3, 2021 in Chicago.

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) scores while Detroit Lions middle linebacker Alex Anzalone defends in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, October 3, 2021 in Chicago.

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In Detroit, Montgomery (.31 missed tackles per rush in 2022) will have the advantage of running behind a line with four Pro Bowl-caliber players and in a backfield that D’Andre Swift also uses as a tempo change.

Swift struggled with ankle and shoulder injuries last season, but averaged 5.5 yards per carry and finished second in backstroke with at least 99 rushing attempts.

“He’s nice,” Montgomery said. “I have always appreciated and respected his game. It’s going to be really cool to play with him and be able to say that he and I are in the same room. He’s evil, brother.”

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The Lions should have a nasty offense this fall as at least eight of 11 starters return – receiver DJ Chark remains a free agent – from a team that scored fifth-most points in the league, and Montgomery fills a role similar to Jamaal Williams in the back room.

Williams led the Lions in 1,066 rushing yards last year and broke the franchise record set by Barry Sanders in a season with 17 rushing touchdowns. The Lions attempted to re-sign Williams and offered him a similar contract to the one they gave Montgomery, but switched to Montgomery when Williams’ agent scoured the market for better offers.

Montgomery called Williams “a great player” but said, “I’m not here to be him.”

“I’m here to be me,” he said. “I know I can bring a lot to the table. I don’t want to be labeled as only doing this for one team or for offense. I want to be able to do whatever (offensive coordinator) Ben (Johnson) or coach (Dan) Campbell asks me to do, even (running backs) coach (Scottie) Montgomery. Whatever you need from me, I will do it. I have that worker mentality and I’m ready to get down to business.”

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions’ David Montgomery ‘ready to get down to business’

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