Rookie running back Michael Ford is gaining fans every time he plays — especially on his own team.
‘‘I love watching Michael Ford run the football,’’ safety Chris Conte said. ‘‘I mean, he’s a great runner. He’s strong. He’s fast. I enjoy watching him play and I think he definitely deserves a spot on the team. I’m excited to see him continue to develop as a player and hopefully it’s with the Bears.
Ford, who has been impressive in training camp and the preseason, sparkled again Friday night in the Bears’ 34-26 victory over the Oakland Raiders in their third preseason game. The undrafted rookie from LSU gained 58 yards on nine carries, including a spinning, darting 15-yard touchdown that gave the Bears breathing room at 34-20 after the Raiders had closed a 27-0 deficit to 27-20. Ford also had two receptions for 16 yards.
Last week against the San Diego Chargers, Ford had 160 yards in kickoff returns, including a 100-yard return. He rushed for 28 yards on 15 carries.
Ford, considered to have overtaken Armando Allen in a battle for the third running back spot on the roster, solidified his presumed hold on that spot with another strong performance Friday night. Allen has been injured and unable to play the past two games. But at the rate Ford is going, it might be difficult for the Bears to sneak him onto their practice squad.