When making Chicago Bears comparisons in regards to new running back David Montgomery, most people have connected him to Matt Forte. This is mostly due to their versatile skill sets and rather quiet but confident personalities. However, there are a number of differences between them. Especially in terms of size. Forte was bigger. So if it’s not him, who might Bears fans want to think about when watching Montgomery play?
That would be Neal Anderson.
The unassuming heir to the throne who had the unenviable task of replacing Walter Payton. This has made it all too easy for some Bears fans to forget how good Anderson was. A 1st round pick out of Florida in 1986, he waited in the wings for two years before becoming the starter in 1988. From there he carved out a respectable career for himself.
He ended up going to four-straight Pro Bowls starting that season, topping at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage each time. Though only 5’11 in size, he ran tough and with surprising strength. He had quick feet, great vision, and the quickness to elude tacklers in open space. One thing he never got enough credit for was his pass-catching ability. Three times he went over 400 receiving yards. The same number as Payton himself.
David Montgomery must succeed where Anderson failed
Anderson was a tremendous back for a period of time, but he had one fatal flaw. His body couldn’t hold up to the rigors of the NFL for long. Injuries began to pile up for him in 1992 and 1993. Though he didn’t miss a lot of games from them, his effectiveness as a runner drastically reduced. It got to a point where he sensed things had reached the point of no return. So rather than beat himself up for a clearly rebuilding team, he chose to retire.
He wasn’t yet 30-years old.
“The only reason, sometimes, that people think you should stop is when physically you can’t play anymore. People think you have to beat yourself up so bad that you can’t play.”
This is where Montgomery will have to separate himself. He proved himself quite durable at Iowa State but the NFL is a different animal. Will his body be able to hold up? Anderson survived just six years as the primary starter. Time will tell. In terms of ability though, if he lives up to this comparison then the Bears running game should be in great shape for years to come.