RE­AC­TION

Mont­gomery up­set his char­ac­ter is in ques­tion

Packer Plus - - News - Jim Owczarski

Green Bay — Ty Mont­gomery came to work on Mon­day with more ques­tions than an­swers, and the 25-year-old wasn’t feel­ing good about where those ques­tions were tak­ing his mind in the after­math of a 29-27 Green Bay Pack­ers loss to the Los An­ge­les Rams.

“I’m walk­ing around with a mind­set that I’m not sup­posed to have,” he said at his locker at Lam­beau Field.

But to un­der­stand where Mont­gomery’s mind was Mon­day, you had to go back 24 hours to the im­me­di­ate after­math of the Pack­ers’ loss at L.A. Memo­rial Coli­seum on Sun­day. At that time, there were two pri­mary ques­tions for Mont­gomery: Was he told to take a knee in the end zone af­ter the Rams took the lead with 2 min­utes, 5 sec­onds to go? And if so, why did he re­turn it?

Mont­gomery elected to not speak postgame, leav­ing coaches and team­mates to speak about that de­ci­sion and its ram­i­fi­ca­tions, which were a fum­ble and Aaron Rodgers and the of­fense stuck on the bench to watch time ex­pire.

Head coach Mike Mc­Carthy sim­ply stated the dis­cus­sion prior to the kick­off was to down the ball and give the of­fense two min­utes to move into field goal range. Mc­Carthy ad­mit­ted he didn’t know how close the ball was to the goal line. On the record, team­mates were frus­trated the of­fense wasn’t af­forded that last chance to win.

But at nearly 3 a.m. on Mon­day, the NFL Net­work re­ported that an anony­mous team­mate ques­tioned Mont­gomery’s char­ac­ter in re­turn­ing the kick.

The league-owned site re­ported that six Pack­ers coaches and play­ers had said Mont­gomery was frus­trated when he came off the field for a sec­ond-down play with about six min­utes left in the game, cat­e­go­riz­ing his ac­tions as a “tantrum” when he slammed his hel­met on the side­line.

One anony­mous player then made the cor­re­la­tion that Mont­gomery’s dis­play com­ing off the field meant he will­fully went against Mc­Carthy’s or­der to take a knee in or­der to serve his own in­ter­est.

Just be­fore 4 p.m. Mon­day, Montgo- mery met with the me­dia and tried to process it all.

“We talk about be­ing broth­ers,” he said. “We talk about be­ing fam­ily and keep­ing things in-house, in-house, this, that and the other. That’s not what hap­pened. I don’t know. Maybe that’s what they do in their fam­ily. That’s not what I do in mine. No one ever said any­thing to me. No one ever came to me. So I’m thor­oughly dis­ap­pointed in the spec­u­la­tion and just the back­lash I have to deal with now. Be­cause now, we’re talk­ing about my char­ac­ter. We’re not even talk­ing about the fum­ble any­more, we’re talk­ing about my char­ac­ter. We’re talk­ing about the rea­sons why I did what I did, and I’m not OK with that.”

As for his de­ci­sion to take the ball out on the kick re­turn, he ac­knowl­edged the re­turn unit had its usual con­ver­sa­tion — “if it’s in the end zone, keep it in the end zone” — but Mont­gomery was ve­he­ment that he did not flout any direc­tive.

“At that point in time, I stood where I al­ways stood, I had a re­turn­able ball,” he said. “So I made a split-sec­ond de­ci­sion, I don’t know if this is go­ing to land on the goal line. So I’m not go­ing to take a knee on the goal line, at the half-yard line and take a chance at putting the game in the ref ’s hands. Un­for­tu­nately, I ended up fum­bling the foot­ball. I don’t think we’d be hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion if I didn’t fum­ble the foot­ball be­cause we know how good our two-minute of­fense is.

“But I’ve never been a guy to com­pletely dis­obey what I’m be­ing told. I think you can ask a lot of guys in our locker room. That’s not what I do. That’s not the type of man I am. That’s not the kind of per­son I am.”

He also ad­mit­ted to be­ing frus­trated af­ter be­ing pulled in fa­vor of Aaron Jones for a sec­ond-down play with 6:45 to go, equat­ing it to go­ing into an­other room and re­leas­ing a scream. Mont­gomery ac­knowl­edged that mo­ment was the cul­mi­na­tion of some pent-up emo­tions.

“I got a lit­tle frus­trated. I wanted to make a play,” he said. “I wasn’t play­ing very much and I wasn’t able to make a play and I was frus­trated about that. I don’t fully un­der­stand what my role is right now, what I’m sup­posed to be do­ing, how I’m sup­posed to help this team. And it’s frus­trat­ing when I want to help the team and I get lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties and it didn’t hap­pen on that play. So I came off frus­trated about it.”

But Mont­gomery said that had no bear­ing on his de­ci­sion-mak­ing process on the kick re­turn.

“Ab­so­lutely not, and that’s the point that I was try­ing to make,” he said.

“I’m very dis­ap­pointed in the fact that was said and they tried to make cor­re­la­tions that don’t ex­ist.”

Mont­gomery ad­mit­ted he be­gan won­der­ing who the anony­mous team­mate was, what his mo­ti­va­tions were and if he was try­ing to con­vince oth­ers of his point of view. He said no one had yet come to him di­rectly and claimed the quote, and he couldn’t hide the fact he was dis­ap­pointed in that team­mate.

“One hun­dred per­cent. Very dis­ap­pointed,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that’s not true that’s caus­ing me to have to deal with false ac­cu­sa­tions about my char­ac­ter, per­cep­tions about my char­ac­ter,” he said. “I’ve never been one to throw team­mates un­der the bus. You guys know if you guys ever ask me ques­tions about team­mates, I al­ways de­flect it. I don’t like it. So it’s very dis­ap­point­ing es­pe­cially as a guy who’s jeop­ar­dized the length of his ca­reer, the amount of money he can make in his ca­reer, in the mid­dle of a sea­son be­ing asked to do mul­ti­ple things all the time. That’s all I’m go­ing to say about that.”

Aaron Jones, Mont­gomery’s locker mate, also un­der­stood his fel­low run­ning back’s dis­ap­point­ment.

“It is frus­trat­ing be­cause we’re a team,” Jones said. “We should be able to come talk to each other. That’s why that is frus­trat­ing. Of course you want to know who is say­ing what. We’re team­mates and we’ve got to stick to­gether at the end of the day.”

JIM MATTHEWS / USA TO­DAY NET­WORK-WIS

Ty Mont­gomery’s fum­ble late in the fourth quar­ter proves to be costly for the Pack­ers.

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