Ex-Bear David Montgomery takes part in the NFL’s silly season of complaining about the past

The running back criticizes his old team, but for the wrong reasons.

SHARE Ex-Bear David Montgomery takes part in the NFL’s silly season of complaining about the past
David Montgomery running for the Bears last season.

David Montgomery runs for the Bears during a December game against the Bills at Soldier Field.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Nothing says “spring’’ like sunshine, blooming flowers and NFL players bellyaching about their former teams.

Ex-Bears running David Montgomery, now with Detroit, was among a number of players recently taking part in the annual rite. He said on a Lions gaming channel that the Bears’ considerable losing the past few years took a toll on him.

“That was all I was used to,” he said. “And it got to a point where it sucked the fun out of the game for me because I’m a competitor. I like to compete. That’s what football’s about. It’s so refreshing to be in a place where that’s appreciated.”

There’s no arguing that the Bears lost plenty while Montgomery was in Chicago, going 25-41 in his four seasons. Last season was especially bad, though the 3-14 record led to the Bears’ winning the No. 1 pick in the draft, which they eventually traded. During a rebuild, one man’s bad is another man’s good.

But Montgomery misses the Bears’ real issue. It’s not that the organization doesn’t appreciate winning or competing at a high level. It’s that the organization, to its marrow, doesn’t know how to win. I’ve said plenty about ownership’s ineptness over the years, but I’ve never suggested it doesn’t want to win. Chairman George McCaskey’s priorities might be skewed toward stadium building and history telling, but he understands that the name of the game is winning a Super Bowl. The problem is that he doesn’t seem to have the foggiest how to do it. Seven playoff appearances in the past 31 years are proof. So is the march of hired and fired coaches.

You are right to wonder, out loud even, why Montgomery failed to mention his frustrations while he was a Bear. If it’s worth talking about now, surely it would have been worth talking about when the team was hard at work being awful. It actually would have been a positive. Imagine a player who ran as hard as Montgomery did lashing out publicly about fun being sucked out of the game. Chicago would have loved him for it. Ownership and the coaching staff not so much. But who cares? A competitor telling it like it is. Deal with it.

Give Montgomery this, though: He turned down a Bears’ contract offer to move to Detroit. The losing fueled the relocation. The Lions welcomed him with open arms. Or at least one open arm. They used their other arm to take Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs in the first round of the draft. Tough business, one that can suck more fun out of the game if you let it.

Montgomery is not alone in throwing shade at a former team. New Giants tight end Darren Waller recently took a not-so-subtle shot at the Raiders, with whom he had a sometimes contentious relationship during his five years with the team.

“Yeah, they value our opinions here,” Waller said during the Giants’ OTAs. “As a player, I feel like a lot of places I’ve gone, you’re told to do things a certain way and you do those things. But here it’s like, they ask a lot of questions. They want to know what you’re thinking, what you want to do more.’’

Apparently, it’s really, really important that a tight end have input in the decision-making process. Would he like to block today? No? Then this is probably a bad time to ask him to run some decoy routes. How about some tea on the veranda? Does that sound nice?

You can see where this collegial approach is going. Someday, a coaching staff is going to express interest in a kicker’s viewpoint. That’s when you’ll know the End Times are here.

Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams raised eyebrows recently when he declared that he and the team didn’t see “eye to eye’’ on the offense. But he later said that, despite his criticism, “I’ve never been encouraged to speak up and share my feelings with the organization the way I have with (coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler).’’

To sum up,  the Raiders are either a block of ice (Waller) or a warm embrace (Adams).

You probably won’t be surprised that ESPN reported on tension between Waller and the Raiders. My favorite part of the story was this detail:

“In particular, there was a point of contention when Waller left during the bye week to propose to Las Vegas Aces star Kelsey Plum instead of rehabbing and didn’t provide the team an explanation of where he was going.’’

It sounds as if Waller didn’t value the opinion of his coaches enough to tell them where he was. They probably deserved to know, given that he was on the team’s payroll. Oh, well. He’s moved on, purportedly to a happier place.

For now.

The Latest
The former couple noted that deciding where to settle down contributed to their decision to go their separate ways.
Joey Miller, 25, was arrested Thursday and now faces three felony charges: first-degree attempted murder, home invasion and aggravated battery, police said.
Larry Walker, 37 and of the Humboldt Park neighborhood, is facing charges for attempted murder and aggravated battery, police said.
The string of robberies started at about 4:45 a.m. in the 1300 block of North Halsted Street when a 29-year-old man was getting out of his car and a black sedan pulled up and four to five men got out and pointed guns at him, police said.
The high court is reviewing a law that’s popular among federal prosecutors — including those pursuing former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.