Despite an uncertain future, Bears RB Mike Davis vows to not ‘let anything take my joy’
Mike Davis played 55 offensive snaps over the Bears’ first two games — and 16 since.
Running back Mike Davis sat alone at his locker Tuesday morning and tapped out a tweet.
“Control what you can control,” he wrote. “Another day of staying positive.”
There are reasons for him to sulk: Six weeks after signing a two-year, $6 million deal in March, he watched as the Bears drafted another running back, David Montgomery. Davis has played only 71 offensive snaps this season, running 11 times for 25 yards and catching seven passes for 22 yards — hardly the production he or the Bears envisioned after he ran 112 times for 514 yards with the Seahawks last year.
Fifty-five of those 71 snaps came during the Bears’ first two games. Davis has played on 16 snaps since, though he missed one game after a death in his family. Despite coach Matt Nagy saying Davis has done everything asked of him, Davis hasn’t played a single down in two of the last three games.
And now there’s this wrinkle: If the Bears cut him before Sunday, they improve their chances of receiving a compensatory fourth-round draft pick in 2020. It would be their first such pick in 11 years and help replenish a draft cache depleted by their trades for Montgomery and star outside linebacker Khalil Mack.
Minutes after his tweet Tuesday, Davis was approached and asked about the potential move.
“I feel like thinking of something like that is negative,” he said. “I really don’t care about outside voices or whatever comes with it. All I can do is come and show up every day, be a great teammate and be ready to go, no matter what happens.”
It’s his job, he said, to be that way.
“That’s just something that I’ve just got to stay positive, stay upbeat,” he said. “Don’t let anything take my joy. Just come here, have fun and work. I love my guys. I love my teammates around me. I refuse to be that teammate who’s just bringing negative vibes.”
There was a time when he let those vibes get the best of him. In 2017, his first year with the Seahawks, he played only six games, rushing 68 times for 240 yards.
“I’ve been in a dark place before, when I was in Seattle, when I first started,” he said. “I always told myself I’d never go back to that place again. So it’s something: I’ll always keep a smile on my face, I’ll always be upbeat. It doesn’t matter the situation. . . .
“It [was] basically just mental. Me loving the game and not being able to play and help my teammates, it really put me in a dark place where I really hated a lot of things. But that’s what you have family for — to help you get out of those tough situations. But it was kind of brutal for me.”
Davis hasn’t been able to crack the rotation of the NFL’s sixth-worst rushing attack. His awkward fit is reminiscent of one of general manager Ryan Pace’s worst free-agent acquisitions, receiver Markus Wheaton. Signed to a two-year, $11 million deal with $6 million guaranteed in 2017, Wheaton caught three passes — on, amazingly, 17 targets — for 51 yards before being cut after a year. He never caught another pass in the NFL.
Davis, however, might be best compared to former Bears quarterback Mike Glennon. Like Glennon, he was signed in March to be the starter, with the Bears knowing they might also use their top draft pick that year on someone who played the same position. The Bears drafted Mitch Trubisky second overall in 2017, after signing Glennon seven weeks earlier.
Davis has been surprised — “Obviously,” he said — with the way things have gone. But he has tried to put a brave face on it.
“Things happen,” he said. “So my mindset is always just to be ready no matter what.”