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Write Now Blog

Undrafted rookie Ford battling for job

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 29, 2013 – 1:07 pm

Bears rookie Michael Ford was an explosive running back and kick returner at LSU who posted impressive numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine—but he still was not selected in the draft.

“I couldn’t really tell you why I wasn’t drafted,” Ford said. “But at the end of the day everything happens for a reason. I’m thankful for the Bears giving me this opportunity and getting out here to play and show my skills.”

Battling for the third running back position behind Matt Forte and Michael Bush, Ford has impressed the Bears in preseason action, especially in the return game. The 5-10, 216-pounder has rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, caught seven passes for 52 yards and averaged 35.3 yards on nine kickoff returns including a 100-yarder against the Chargers.

“So far he’s done a good job for the most part,” said special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis. “He’s had a couple things he’d probably like to have back, but he’s done a good job. We’ll see what happens with him. He’s one of the guys that’s definitely in the mix.”

Ford’s main competition for the third running back spot is Armando Allen, who is expected to play in Thursday night’s preseason finale after missing two games with a hamstring injury. With Allen out, Ford tried to make the most of expanded reps.

“You’ve definitely got to take advantage of those,” Ford said. “But being a team man, I hope he comes back and he gets to get in that rotation and keep fighting and fighting just like me.”


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DeCamillis impressed with Hester, Ford

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 19, 2013 – 8:47 pm

Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis liked what he saw from the return game last Thursday night in the Bears’ 33-28 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers.

Devin Hester, who holds the NFL’s all-time record with 17 kick return touchdowns, brought back the opening kickoff 45 yards after fielding it eight yards deep in the end zone.

“He was pretty close [to breaking it for a TD],” DeCamillis said Monday. “The kicker made a nice play and then also the safety from the back side. It was just good to get him some action, some real action. It was good to see those guys blocking the way they did too because there were definitely some holes out there, which was nice to see.”

Michael Ford made an even more impressive play in the second half, returning a kickoff 100 yards to the San Diego 4-yard line, setting up a touchdown. Last season the undrafted rookie from LSU ranked second in the SEC in kickoff returns, averaging 27.5 yards while producing four kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer, including an 86-yarder that led to a TD against Arkansas.

“It would be tough not to like what you saw in a Michael Ford,” DeCamillis said. “He did a great job. On his long one, that wasn’t one of the better blocked returns that we had all night. He made a guy miss right in the hole. That was a great run by him and he did a better job on coverage too. So he’s making it tough. He’s doing a good job of what we need to see from him, that’s for sure.”


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Ford could get expanded playing time

Posted by Larry Mayer on August 14, 2013 – 10:42 am

With backup running backs Armando Allen (hamstring) and Harvey Unga (rib) sidelined by injuries, undrafted rookie Michael Ford could get expanded playing time in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Chargers.

“It’s an opportunity because guys went down, so I’ve got to step up and play that role,” Ford said. “But you never know. Matt [Forte] might get more touches, [Michael] Bush might get more touches. I’ve just got to stay ready.”

Ford joined the Bears after playing in 37 career games with five starts at LSU, scoring 14 touchdowns (13 rushing and one receiving). Last season the 5-10, 216-pounder ranked second in the SEC in kickoff returns, averaging 27.5 yards on 20 returns. Ford, who entered the draft following his junior season, had four kickoff returns of 40 yards or longer, including an 86-yarder that set up a TD against Arkansas.

In last Friday night’s preseason opener against the Panthers, Ford rushed for 15 yards on six carries including a four-yard touchdown, caught three passes for 35 yards and returned one kickoff for 25 yards.

To supplant Allen as the third running back behind Forte and Bush, Ford will have to prove he can contribute on special teams, something he did at LSU.

“It’s not an adjustment,” Ford said. “I did that in college. Coming out here, the only adjustment is picking up all the little details and getting them right and getting the fundamentals down.”

Asked what he hopes to show coaches Thursday night against the Chargers, Ford said: “That I have the focus I can play on this level, I can block, I can catch, and just do the things that I need to do to play.”


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