BOURBONNAIS — The Bears believe they have a secret weapon in Mike Davis.
But they’re only telling anyone who will listen.
“I think I feel like he’s a little bit under the radar right now,” general manager Ryan Pace said last week. “Mike’s had a great offseason, and we’re fortunate to have him.”
Bears coach Matt Nagy repeated that Sunday.
“We’ve been telling you this,” he said. “We feel very fortunate that he came here as a free agent. He can do a lot of different things. He can protect. He has great vision in between the tackles, yet you can put him out wide and he can do some things.”
There are different motivations for the Bears’ brass making such declarations. Nagy was thrilled about how Davis handled the Bears’ offseason program — he never made the same mistake twice — but drawing attention to the veteran takes pressure off rookie David Montgomery, who was drafted in the third round out of Iowa State.
“I’m fine with being under the radar,” Davis said after practice Tuesday. “I don’t really care for all that. The only thing I can do is go out here and prove people wrong on the field. When opportunity comes, I have to be ready for it.”
Davis has learned that the hard way. He is only two years removed from being cut — twice. After Davis ran 180 times for 754 yards over parts of two seasons with the 49ers, he was waived in May 2017. The Seahawks claimed him, but he was cut at the start of the season. He bounced back to the team’s practice squad, was promoted to the active roster halfway through the year and played 21 games, mostly as the third-down back.
The Bears gave him a two-year, $6 million contract with $3 million guaranteed in March. He used some of that money to buy a house for his mom, which he presented to her on Mother’s Day.
The chip, though, remains firmly on his shoulder.
“I don’t look at my contract as, ‘Oh, I made it,’ ” he said. “That’s temporary. I’m never satisfied. I don’t think anybody is ever satisfied with how much money they’re getting. You always want more. I’m not worried about my contract. I want to go out there and play and prove that I’m here for a reason.”
He’ll have to master an offense that will have him playing more roles than he ever has in the NFL. He’ll line up as an outside receiver or in the slot. He joked that he also has had to learn how to play tight end.
The 5-9, 217-pounder said he lost weight and got faster in the six weeks between the end of the offseason program and the start of camp, just to be ready for it.
“I love my receiver role,” he said. “I’m out here to do whatever they put me at. If Nagy wants me to punt, I’m going to be out here punting.”
He might do just about everything else. The Bears want Davis, Montgomery and do-everything back Tarik Cohen to be as comfortable receiving as they are running. Jordan Howard wasn’t, and that’s why he was traded to the Eagles for little in return.
“Matt Nagy, he’s a genius when it comes to the plays,” Davis said. “You have to learn every position. You never know where you’ll be at.”
Right now, he’s under the radar.
“He just needs to learn the intricacies of this offense, the details,” Nagy said. “And once he does that, we feel like at that position, between those guys we have, we’re in a pretty good spot.”