David Montgomery was pretty transparent when discussing his rookie diet. While Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, the Bears' second-year running back said he often craved spicy beef jerky, Swiss cheese and doughnuts during his first season in the NFL. Montgomery, however, said that he switched to a more strict nutrition regimen this offseason, and the result is a trimmer, faster version of himself as he enters the 2020 season.
"Whenever I had the craving for a Krispy Creme doughnut, I'd definitely go have one back in the day," Montgomery recently told reporters, via the team's website. "But now, I fight the urge to go have one."
Montgomery, who worked with strength and speed coaches in Chicago during the offseason, swapped red meat in favor of fish, chicken and quinoa. He says that he entered training camp about five pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season.
"I feel amazing," Montgomery said. "Everything feels good right now, as far as my body. I'm not as sore as I was last year because of the lack of food that I don't need that has a lot of inflammation to it. And just running. Just being able to run and feeling good at how I run and being able to make the right cuts."
A third-round pick in the 2019 draft, Montgomery, who rushed for 2,362 yards and 24 touchdowns during his final two seasons at Iowa State, received eight starts during his rookie season in Chicago. He lead the Bears with 889 rushing yards and six touchdowns that included his 113-yard, one touchdown performance in Chicago's Week 17 victory over Minnesota.
Despite last season's success, Montgomery felt like his diet did not allow him to have even more success during his rookie campaign.
"I was a lot slower than I know I was capable of moving at, and it affected the game," said Montgomery, who ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.63 seconds at the 2019 NFL combine. "I kind of let myself get in the way of myself as far as what I ate last year. I didn't really care. I was a rookie. I was just eating whatever, but now it's definitely a main focal point in my everyday life. It's just being sure I put the right things in my body so it can carry over to the field."
Montgomery's offseason work has not been lost on Bears coach Matt Nagy, who said that Montgomery's confidence is one of his biggest attributes.
"I like the way that he handles his day-to-day operations," Nagy said. "He realizes how important he is to this offense. I love his mentality. He's a hard worker, and I think he's eager to really go out and show what he can do."
While he has vastly improved his physical fitness, Montgomery said that he is also in a better mental space heading into his second season. Not only does he have a better understanding of the Bears' offensive system, Montgomery said that he is better acclimated to the speed of the NFL as well as what to expect from opposing defenses. Montgomery added that he is not worried about sharing carries with Tarik Cohen and Cordarrelle Patterson, who is making the switch from receiver to running back. He is also not worried as it relates to the Bears' new running scheme, which is expected to include a much more zone-oriented attack under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazar and new offensive line coach, Juan Castillo.
"As long as I get the opportunity to run it, and be able to be out there with my teammates and my line, and to be able to run the ball, it's pretty sweet," Montgomery said. "The run scheme now definitely is great. Every run scheme to me is pretty good."