The Green Bay Packers removed wide receiver – and newly crowned running back – Ty Montgomery from their Sunday game plan at the last-minute due to what they categorized as an illness. It turns out that discomfort the versatile offensive weapon was feeling is related to a sickle-cell trait.
Montgomery told reporters, including ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky, on Monday that he did not play against the Atlanta Falcons due to symptoms associated with a sickle-cell trait. However, the second-year player who has become quite essential to the depleted Packers’ operation this season, said that doctors have told him this is not considered a career-threatening setback. He hopes to return to the field against the Indianapolis Colts, but that is not certain yet either.
Green Bay having to yank Montgomery out of their lineup did not help matters in a 33-32 loss to the Falcons on the road in Atlanta. The Packers had to turn to practice squad promotion Don Jackson and previous trade acquisition and former Kansas City Chiefs fourth-string running back, Knile Davis, as their backfield options in Montgomery’s stead.
With both Eddie Lacy and James Starks out, Lacy potentially for the season, Montgomery made a battlefield conversion to running back, where he occasionally lined up at Stanford. A near-complete non-factor in Green Bay’s first four games when Lacy was healthy, Montgomery came up big against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears in Weeks 5 and 6. He made 10 receptions in each contest after catching no passes previously this season and took 12 combined handoffs in the two tilts, rushing for 60 yards against the Bears. Soon after, the team converted him to running back.
Montgomery would join Arizona Cardinals’ wide out John Brown as players diagnosed with the sickle-cell trait this season. Brown missed one game but returned Sunday for the Cardinals, catching four passes and scoring once. This trait affects individuals differently, though, so it remains to be seen how much it impacts Montgomery.