Bears coach Matt Nagy wasn't surprised to hear the impassioned words that David Montgomery uttered following Sunday's defeat to the Cardinals.
After the Bears lost for the sixth time in seven games, the third-year running back spoke about fulfilling a childhood dream by playing in the NFL and vowed that he's "never going to stop fighting" when faced with adversity.
"That's who he is," Nagy said. "That's his DNA. He's a special, special guy. He just comes to work every day. He does it like a true pro."
"That's what you're going to get every single day he walks in the door to come in the building," added running backs coach Michael Pitre, "a guy that's passionate about his craft, passionate about his teammates, passionate about this organization, passionate about football. In turn, he's going to speak from the heart and he's going to give you everything he has when he's out there between the white lines. He's going to give you everything he has when he's in the meeting room because this opportunity is extremely important to him, and that's who he is."
Montgomery produced a season-high 141 yards from scrimmage against the Cardinals, rushing for 90 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and catching eight passes for 51 yards. But his performance wasn't enough to overcome four turnovers in a 33-22 loss at Soldier Field.
"The entire season has kind of been frustrating with the losses we've taken," Montgomery said after the game. "But I'm a fighter. I'm never going to stop fighting. I'm not going to stop giving it everything I've got, along with the guys in that locker room as well. We've just got to keep churning."
With five games still remaining this season, Montgomery hopes that his never-say-die attitude permeates the Bears locker room.
"What you realize and what you learn stepping into, I guess you could say a leadership role or a point where people watch you, the things that you do happen to carry a lot of weight," Montgomery said. "It becomes infectious: your mentality, how you practice, how you come into work every day, how you treat everybody else around you, your character. And I take a lot of pride in that.
"Even when things are bad, I'm still going to have high character. I'm still going to be that guy that tells everybody, 'Let's go. Let's get it.' I'm going to be that guy that doesn't feel sorry for nobody, including myself. And understand you just have to keep going. That's what it's all about: just keep going forward."
Montgomery's passion for football dates back to when he was a kid growing up in Cincinnati.
"Throughout the entirety of my life, I've dreamed of getting to this level of playing football," Montgomery said. "I've dreamed of getting to the level to where I can say I'm a professional athlete in the NFL and I'm here. And as you learn [when] you get to the NFL, it's all predicated off wins and losses. But in the midst of it, through the journey of the wins and losses, you tend to forget about why you do what you do. You forget about who you do it for.
"A lot of times you've got to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself and understand that I was a little kid playing this game. I started playing this game when I was a little kid. And you've got to get back to the basics of just having fun with it, regardless of how it looks. Even when it's dark or as dark as it may seem or as it may be, you've still got to understand that it's still a game, you're still meant to have fun. And everybody in the world doesn't get to do this. You've got to take advantage of it, and you've got to enjoy it while you've got it because it's not forever."
After Sunday's game, Montgomery told reporters that he'd rather rush for 12 yards and be limited to 0.1 yards per carry in a win than post big numbers in a loss.
"Winning to him is more important than anything," Nagy said. "Everyone cares about being productive. If you're productive in a stat line, you're helping your team win. But he would rather win than be productive in his stat line. That's what has always intrigued me, and I've always appreciated his approach."