By now, Green Bay Packers receiver Ty Montgomery thought he would be back on the football field, a place he misses an awful lot.
Montgomery, once a promising rookie, has done a lot of standing and watching over the past 10 months. He still hasn’t returned from ankle surgery late last season, a procedure that knocked out his entire offseason program. Montgomery said he was “hopeful” to return for the start of training camp, but instead was one of six players on the physically unable to perform list.
“That’s what I was pushing for,” Montgomery said, “but at the end of the day, my body has the final say. If it’s not looking quite right or quite the way where they want me to be, then just take it day by day. And then whenever I’m ready, I’m going to be ready to go.”
The ankle feels “great,” Montgomery said. He used the word “precautionary” to describe his appearance on the PUP list. Regardless, if the second-year receiver was able to practice, he would.
Montgomery, a 2015 third-round pick, has already missed a critical chunk of time for his development. Coach Mike McCarthy often discusses the improvements a player can make from his first to second season. Perhaps the biggest reason is second-year players benefit from going through the team’s entire offseason program for the first time.
This spring, Montgomery was forced to stand and watch through the entire offseason program. Limited physically, he couldn’t get the same benefit. At least not in a traditional sense.
Montgomery tried to compensate in different ways. A “key component,” he said, was living in Green Bay permanently. He rehabbed with trainers, lifted weights, even took up boxing for cardiovascular workouts.
“Just being around the facilities,” Montgomery said, “being around the trainers. I see the coaches every now and then. Being around some of the guys really just kept me mentally with Green Bay. Because I’m here every day, I’m always thinking about plays. I’m always thinking about how we do things. I’m always thinking about what I can do to make myself better.
“Training here, I think, was probably the best thing for me.”
Montgomery admitted his rookie season was frustrating. Before his ankle injury, he had two touchdowns in his previous three games. He was earning a role for himself in the Packers offense. Building chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Flashing his potential.
Now, he hopes to pick up where he left off – whenever he returns.
Montgomery said there’s no target date for when he’ll be back on the practice field. On camp's first day, coach Mike McCarthy said he expects each of his PUP members to return during camp. Whenever he’s back, Montgomery will be in the midst of an intense position battle. He’s one of seven receivers who could make the 53-man roster. Usually, the Packers keep five.
No wonder Montgomery misses the field so much. Still, Montgomery said, he remains patience. No matter when he returns, he knows the most important thing is being healthy.
“Physically, I feel like the work I put in this offseason,” Montgomery said, “is going to allow me to be ready. I will say that the guys that are able to practice right now fully, those guys are the ones building rhythm. They’re building some chemistry. That’s not something that needs months or anything.
“I’m still here. I’m in meetings, I’m talking to everyone every day. I’m just not really practicing with them. I’m seeing things, so I don’t think it’s going to be that big of an issue.”
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