David Montgomery left the Bears for the Lions to satisfy his hunger to win. Historically, it’s a move that would have been seen as perplexing by those who follow the NFL.
Following a rocky 25-42 career tenure in Chicago, Montgomery joins the Lions, a team buzzing with hope and a newfound competitive spirit. “I like to compete. That’s what football’s about,” Montgomery declared on the Lions’ new interview series, ‘Lions Gaming,’ hosted by fellow newcomer C.J. Gardner-Johnson. After meeting with head coach Dan Campbell, Montgomery feels his passion for the game has resurfaced and the flame that had begun to wane in the Windy City is flickering back to life.
The Campbell Effect: Turning the Lions into Contenders
The Detroit Lions have undergone a transformation, morphing from a team known for its stumbling blocks into a force expected to compete at the top of the NFC. This significant shift is largely credited to Head Coach Dan Campbell, whose fervor and devotion to the game have breathed new vitality into the historically bad organization.
Montgomery could hardly contain his enthusiasm for his new coach, saying, “He’s a players’ coach. That was one of the things that brought me here.” Montgomery revealed that he had been intrigued by Campbell’s coaching style after watching the Hard Knocks series, further remarking, “He makes you want to run through a wall for him.” The resounding endorsement from Montgomery demonstrates the motivating influence Campbell has on his players.
Building Bonds: The New Lions in Town
An entertaining session of NBA 2K23 on ‘Lions Gaming’ allowed Montgomery and Gardner-Johnson to display their competitive juice while also fostering team chemistry. The friendly banter and mutual respect between the two were apparent, indicating a strong bond forming between the new teammates. Earlier in the offseason, when Montgomery learned that Gardner-Johnson would be joining him in Detroit, he thought to himself, “It’s gonna get ugly.” It was a playful nod to the fierce competition they’d both display on the field.
Gardner-Johnson also sees a bright future for Montgomery with the Lions. The five primetime games on the schedule are a far cry from Montgomery’s time in Chicago. When asked about his past experience under the brightest lights, Montgomery estimated he had the opportunity twice. Now, looking forward to his tenure with the Lions, he chuckled, “I get to play in many more here.” Gardner-Johnson heartily agreed, asserting that Montgomery “deserved” the limelight.
A Tale of Two Cities: From Bears to Lions
After an arduous journey in Chicago, David Montgomery now finds himself in the heart of a team brimming with promise. Reflecting on his career in Chicago, Montgomery candidly shared:
it got to a point where it sucked the fun out of the game for me because I’m a competitor.
Now, Montgomery feels he is in the right environment, where his competitiveness is recognized and valued. The Detroit Lions celebrated their first winning season since 2017, a feat marked by an impressive victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to end the season.
After the Lions finished the 2022 season 9-8, they’re positioned as front-runners for the NFC North in 2023. Montgomery, echoing the sentiment of Lions fans, noted, “It’s so refreshing to be in a place where [competition] is appreciated.”
A proven workhorse, Montgomery will form a formidable backfield duo with Jahmyr Gibbs, the highly anticipated rookie out of Alabama.
Montgomery’s decision to join the Lions seems to be just what the football doctor ordered. The Lions offered David Montgomery the chance for a fresh start – a shot at redemption and winning ways he has been longing for. Signed on a three-year deal, Montgomery leaves behind the dismal memories of the Bears to embrace a Lions squad infused with competitive zeal and newfound vigor.
For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21
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