The kickoff return fumble that angered quarterback Aaron Rodgers, spawned social media threats and seemingly spelled the end of Ty Montgomery’s time with the Green Bay Packers was not talked about Wednesday at the Under Armour Performance Center.
After being traded to the Ravens at Tuesday’s deadline, Montgomery had his sights pointed in one direction: forward.
“It’s been beautiful,” Montgomery said of the last 24 hours. “I’ve been a little sleep-deprived, traveling, coming in, trying to fit in the meetings, but it’s been beautiful. Transition has been smooth so far, and I’m glad to be here.”
Montgomery’s ending in Green Bay was sudden. When he decided not to kneel in the end zone and instead coughed the ball up late in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams – ending any chance at yet another Rodgers two-minute comeback – the poor decision spread like wildfire.
Montgomery refuted a report that he defied coaches’ orders to take a knee/touchback. The report came from an unnamed teammate, who attributed it to Montgomery being angry about being removed from the game during a previous offensive series.
On Monday, Montgomery admitted to being frustrated about his lack of opportunities, but said it had no bearing on his split-second decision. He wondered how he could trust people and said he was “thoroughly [ticked] off at humanity” after people made online threats to his family.
It’s been a wild time since Sunday, to say the least. And it’s something he doesn’t want to talk about.
“I don’t know if I was hoping for a fresh start,” Montgomery said. “I will say I was ready to put that all in the past. I guess it’s going to turn into a fresh start being on this team.”
Asked about his first reaction when he learned he was being traded, Montgomery said he doesn’t worry about things he can’t change.
“From that point, I wasn’t looking back on anything,” Montgomery said. “I was trying to figure out how I’m going to move my wife and kid up here. I’ve never spent any time in Maryland before. We are in Maryland, right? This whole part of the country throws me for a loop.”
Montgomery was a 2015 third-round pick out of Stanford, where he was a wide receiver. He became a spot starter for the Packers in his second season, in which he rushed for 457 yards and caught 44 passes for 348 yards.
Montgomery has averaged 4.8 yards per carry during his four-year career, but his greatest strength is as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. That dual-threat nature – which is why he wears No. 88 and is officially listed as a WR/RB – will add a wrinkle to the Ravens’ backfield.
How he’ll exactly fit in is still unknown. After all, it’s still just his first day, and he just had his first meetings with his offensive coaches and introductions. He did take part in practice Wednesday after three hours of sleep.
“I think that he’s a very versatile player,” said Head Coach John Harbaugh, who added that his brother recruited Montgomery at Stanford.
“I have never met Ty, but I’ve been watching him play with the Packers and when we played against them and prepared against them. A very versatile player: running back, obviously very good in the pass game as a running back as well – protection and catching the ball in the backfield and things like that – lines up at receiver at times.”
Harbaugh said there was not a conversation about the Ravens needing to upgrade their running backs considering the team ranks 31st in the league in average yards per carry. Montgomery can help the Ravens’ rushing attack, but Harbaugh cautioned reporters not to make too big a deal of it.
Whether Montgomery can help this Sunday against the Steelers, Harbaugh said he’ll try to determine that in practice this week.
“I’m just going to do whatever’s asked of me. I’m not going to come in here and try to overdo anything,” said Montgomery, who added that the Ravens have “some really good backs” already.
“I want to be here. I’m excited, and I want to just do everything that’s asked of me and take advantage of this opportunity.”