With the benefit of hindsight, it feels more and more like expectations got in the way of David Montgomery's rookie season. On paper, there have been much worse first years – he finished 2019 with 1074 yards from scrimmage (889/185 rushing/receiving) and scored seven touchdowns. A lot is asked of running backs when teams make the kind of investment that the Bears made in Montgomery, and the team's overall rushing stats from last don't do the narrative any favors, either. So what happened?
"I was a lot slower than I know I was capable of moving at, and it affected the game," the running back said after Saturday's practice. "I kind of let myself get in the way of myself, as far as what I ate last year. I didn’t really care. I was a rookie. I was just eating whatever.
"But now its definitely a main focal point in my everyday life. It’s just being sure I put the right things in my body so it can carry over to field."
Montgomery showed up to Halas Hall in 2020 looking noticeably more thin, a product of an overhauled diet that he says has him feeling '100 percent' through the first week of camp. Constantly eating junk food is a great time all the way up to the moment it's not – which is, if you're curious, when you have to shake off and out-run other professional football players. His body wasn't moving the way he wanted, and fixing that quickly became offseason priority #1.
So gone is the flaming-hot beef jerky and swiss cheese. He's subbed out red meat for chicken and fish; there's plenty of quinoa now, too. Staying away from foods that cause inflammation is key, he said – that, and a little self-discipline.
"Whenever I felt the craving for a Krispy Kreme donut, I’d definitely go have one, back in the day. But now I fight the urge to go have one."
It's worked so far. After playing his rookie season at 223-224, he's now down to 218. Soreness isn't as big of an issue now, and he can feel a difference with his speed. Along with a re-focused emphasis on 'balancing' conditioning, strength, and mobility, Montgomery's never felt better as a pro.
"I feel amazing actually, yeah," he said. "I think everything just feels good right now as far as my body."