Injuries derailed D'Onta Foreman's once-promising NFL career, but the veteran running back is confident that it's back on track.
Foreman, who signed a one-year contract with the Bears last Friday, suffered two major injuries in his first three pro seasons. But each of the last two years—with the Titans in 2021 and Panthers in 2022—he excelled when given the opportunity to be the No. 1 running back.
In 2021, Foreman signed with Tennessee Nov. 2—three days after star running back Derrick Henry had suffered a season-ending foot injury. Although it was a big blow to the Titans' playoff hopes, Foreman helped lead Tennessee to the AFC South title by rushing for 566 yards and three touchdowns the final nine games of the season.
"I think a lot of people counted us out," Foreman said. "That was just my perfect moment to show people I can play just as good as some of the best people in the league. I think I'm right there with those guys and [I'm] just trying to continue to prove that."
The 6-1, 236-pounder had an even better season last year in Carolina. After a midseason trade sent star running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, Foreman established career highs in all rushing categories with 203 attempts, 914 yards and five TDs. He had five 100-yard games, rushing for 165, 130, 118, 118 and 113 yards.
"My mentality was just to go out there and be as productive as I can be," Foreman said. "When I knew that I had the opportunity to kind of be the guy and take over, I tried to make some plays, try to do something to help that team win. I just tried to do it to the best of my ability.
"It was great for me. I was able to kind of reinsert myself and kind of open some eyes to letting people see what I bring to the table and how good I can truly be. Just getting those opportunities, I just want to build on that and continue to grow."
Foreman entered the NFL with great promise. The only Texas running back other than Ricky Williams to rush for at least 2,000 yards in a season, he was selected by the Texans in the third round of the 2017 draft. But in the 10th game of his rookie year, Foreman suffered a torn Achilles tendon near the end of a 34-yard touchdown run, ending his season after rushing for 327 yards and two TDs.
He missed most of the 2018 season while recovering from the injury, playing in just one game Dec. 23. Foreman was then waived by the Texans Aug. 5, 2019, and claimed by the Colts. But he sustained a torn biceps in training camp and was sidelined for the entire season.
Even through all the adversity, Foreman never doubted himself.
"That is one thing just to always keep that confidence," he said, "always believe in yourself, never let the moment get too big for you. I think I strive for those moments."
Foreman intends to pick up this year in Chicago where he left off the past two seasons with the Titans and Panthers. With David Montgomery signing with the Lions, Foreman joins Khalil Herbert in the Bears backfield.
"I can't really speak for the coaches and the plan that they have," Foreman said. "I came here to try to be the guy. I think if I didn't come here with that mentality, I would be doing myself a disservice. I think I would be doing the team a disservice. All due respect, humble confidence, not trying to make it seem like anything other than just exactly what it is. That's just me being confident in myself and feeling like I could come in and be the guy and be a guy that people count on and I can help us win.
"I didn't come here to take a backseat to anybody. I'm a team guy. I want to do anything I can to do to help in any role that they put me in. But [I'm] coming here with the mindset of wanting to be the guy, wanting to be a person who can help this team and make a lot of plays for this team. I know that's my mentality and I plan on doing that."
Take a look at new Bears running back D'Onta Foreman in action. Foreman, 26, has appeared in 43 NFL games with 13 starts over five seasons with the Texans (2017-18), Titans (2020-21) and Panthers (2022). The 6-1, 236-pounder has rushed for 1,901 yards and 10 touchdowns on 443 carries and caught 23 passes for 265 yards and two TDs.