FOR THE STATE JOURNAL
GREEN BAY – Age may be nothing but a number, but when it comes to a jersey – at least in the case of Green Bay Packers wide receiver-turned-starting halfback Ty Montgomery – a number is more than just a number. It’s his identity and a reminder of where he came from on his circuitous journey to being an NFL running back.
“It’s who I am. It’s me,” Montgomery said of No. 88 – which, after he unearthed a little-known NFL rule through his own offseason research, he is keeping this season. “It’s been my number, and if I don’t have to change it, why should I?”
Montgomery, a 2015 third-round pick from Stanford, played only six games as a rookie receiver before ankle surgery ended his season. Last year, with a logjam at receiver – and before the team knew top running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks were going to be sidelined by injury – Montgomery began working at running back and wound up as the starter there down the stretch.
He performed extremely well – he ran 77 times for 457 yards (5.9-yard average) and three touchdowns while also catching 44 passes for 348 yards – and with Lacy (signed with Seattle) and Starks (released amid lingering concussion symptoms) gone, it’s Montgomery’s show now.
“He actually at the end of the day did a really good job, and you can see (that he’s) an instinctive runner, you can see all those things come into play,” running backs coach Ben Sirmans said. “I guess the biggest thing I can say is, I’m very, very excited about him – without saying ‘This is what I expect, this is what he’s going to be.’ I’m just really excited. Really excited about him.”
Here’s a closer look at the running back position as the Packers prepare for training camp, which kicks off with its first practice on July 27: