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Bears players react to departure of Pace, Nagy

David Montgomery and Matt Nagy

Running back David Montgomery was emotional Monday when discussing the departure of Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

Pace and Nagy were relieved of their duties one day after the Bears concluded their third straight non-winning season Sunday with a 31-17 loss to the Vikings.

Pace traded up 14 spots in the third round of the 2019 draft to select Montgomery out of Iowa State.

"Pace and Nagy, they took a chance on me," Montgomery said. "They took a chance on a poor kid from Cincinnati who people looked at as if he wasn't going to be good enough to even get a chance to play. That's why it's emotional for me—because they stuck their neck out on the line for me, and I appreciate them for that.

"As soon as I stepped foot in here, they showed me nothing but love. I appreciate them for that. It's unfortunate what happened. But at the same time, you understand this is a results-driven league …"

Asked what traits he'd like to see a new coach, Montgomery said: "It's still pretty raw and new for me. I understand it's a business with how the coaches change. People go and people come in. But I'm still kind of taking it all in, I guess you could say. So, I really don't have much of anything to say about that. I just want to take it all in, and take it one step at a time and see what's next."

In 2020, Pace dealt a 2021 fourth-round pick to the Vikings in exchange for a fifth-round choice he spent on Tulsa outside linebacker Trevis Gipson.

"I'm very appreciative of all the memories that I was able to make with coach Nagy and Ryan Pace," Gipson said. "It is going to be sad. But it's a part of the business, unfortunately …"

Nagy delivered the news Monday at a 9 a.m. team meeting.

"He told us how much he cared about us and that he'll always be there for us," Gipson said. "It's all love with coach Nagy and it's always going to be like that. I'm appreciative of the memories that I was blessed to be able to make with him and I'll always be able to stay in touch with him.

"It was a tough road this season and we fought to the very end. There's nothing that we can really do about it except put our head down and work hard and just continue to fight the fight."

Hired as general manager in 2015, Pace acquired every player on the Bears roster this season except punter Pat O'Donnell, who was chosen in the sixth round of the 2014 draft by GM Phil Emery. In 2018, Pace selected Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels in the second round.

"Coach Nagy and Ryan, they were the ones who called me right when I got drafted here," Daniels said. "Because we've built such a good relationship over the past four years, it's sad to see them go. But I know it's a part of the NFL, it's a part of the game, and it's a production business … You can lose your job when you don't produce."