How Bears' David Montgomery fights complacency in training camp

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How David Montgomery became Bears' Captain Serious originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

When Bears coaches and players talk about David Montgomery, the same sorts of phrases come up over and over: leader, hard worker, true professional, strong runner, finisher. But one the one adjective that seems to always come up is “serious.”

“I’ve always been pretty serious throughout my life,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always looked at things in a serious manner, because I know opportunities are not forever and I know that I’ve met a lot of people in my life who have squandered every opportunity that they’ve had.”

That gels with Montgomery’s new coaches and the no-nonsense HITS philosophy that Matt Eberflus has installed. To succeed in Eberflus’ program, one has to work hard, know what they’re doing at any given moment, be mindful of details, and never, ever, get caught loafing.

It’s serious business, and it’s raised accountability throughout the building. Montgomery welcomes the higher standards that he is expected to meet.

“Just knowing that I’ve got to stay on my toes at all times is definitely good for me and it’s good for everybody else too. It’s going to help me and everyone else around be the best version of themselves.”

There are times where Montgomery can feel himself getting comfortable, or complacent. Obviously that doesn’t jive with the HITS program, or his desire to make the most of his NFL opportunity. So when Montgomery feels the threat of complacency creeping in, he leans on a set of reminders to continue striving for greatness.

“I remember that I didn’t have any offers coming out of high school. I remember that we didn’t have any money when I was younger. I remember that when I got to college I wasn’t supposed to play as a freshman. And I remember when I was coming out in the draft I got passed up a bunch of times.”

The reminders are humbling, and they work. It’s clear that Montgomery’s teammates, Eberflus and even Ryan Poles, notice. But Montgomery doesn’t believe he deserves any special attention for working hard.

“It’s definitely good that someone recognizes it, but at the same time it’s just being a pro and just what i’m supposed to do,” Montgomery said. “You don’t get treats or cool points for being a pro. It’s either you’re a pro or you’re out of the NFL. I think I want to pick ‘being a pro.’”

All this serious work and serious talk can be exhausting, especially in the grueling summer months of training camp. So Montgomery tries to remind himself that he’s playing a game that he loves.

“Sometimes I tell myself, ‘David, you’re being too hard and too serious on yourself.’ Because I started playing this game having fun. But, yeah, the people who know me know I’m a pretty fun guy. Y’all might not see it but I even try to make jokes and crack jokes with you guys to try to lighten it up.”

The Bears hope that all the hard work they put in this summer will pay off with an effective offense this fall. That offense appears like it will feature Montgomery heavily. If his production leads to wins, then it’s safe to say everybody will be having a good time around Halas Hall.

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