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The Packers traded Ty Montgomery two days after that atrocious kick return

It was a bad decision, no question. But WHY Montgomery did it depends on who you ask.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were down two points to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday when they were about to get the ball back with just over two minutes to play. You know how this story goes ... yet another improbable, routine Rodgers-led comeback, the quarterback again bailing out his mediocre team and underwhelming head coach.

Except he never got the chance.

Packers return man Ty Montgomery had been told to take a knee. Take the touchback and give Rodgers the ball at the 25-yard line. Hell, all they needed to do was burn up enough of the clock (they still had a timeout, too) and kick a field goal to win it. Instead, Montgomery caught the ball two yards inside the end zone and decided to run with it.

Whatever the reason for his decision to run the kick out of the end zone, it cost his team and cost him a spot on that team. The Packers traded Montgomery to the Ravens on Tuesday before the trade deadline for a seventh-round pick.

“The plan there is to stay in the end zone,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. “There’s decisions and Ty’s in that decision situation, and I’m sure Ty was trying to make a play.”

Just as Montgomery crossed the 20, Rams special teamer Ramik Wilson crashed into him, dislodging the ball. Wilson recovered it, and that was it.

Aaron Rodgers was pissed

After the game, Rodgers made the kind of statement to the media you expect.

“Yeah, very disappointed,” he said. “That play didn’t lose the game, but it definitely took away an opportunity for us to go down and win it.”

He said plenty more on the sideline.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Silver, on the sideline, Rodgers was heard yelling: “Take a f------ knee!”

“Aaron was hot,” one coach told Silver. “He was very, very mad.”

Understandable. The Packers had a chance to pull off a major upset, knocking off the NFL’s only undefeated team on their own field. That win would have also breathed some life into an underwhelming first half of the season for Green Bay. Instead, they’re 3-3-1 looking up at the Bears and the Vikings ahead of them in the division standings.

So why did Montgomery not take a knee?

Montgomery isn’t the Packers’ primary return man. That’s Trevor Davis, but he landed on injured reserve in September. Montgomery has been filling in for him, and also has some past experience returning kicks.

The official excuse from McCarthy was “Ty trying to make a play.” Good intentions and all that.

Anonymous players and coaches from the Packers talked to Silver after the game and threw Montgomery under the bus. They suggested he may have fumbled it because he was mad about being taken out of the game on the Packers’ prior possession.

Silver’s sources said Montgomery had a “tantrum” on the sideline. And one of the people he talked to made the direct link between Montgomery’s fit and the fumble. Here’s the money quote from the article:

“They took him out for a play and he slammed his helmet and threw a fit,” one Packers player said. “Then they told him to take a knee, and he ran it out anyway. You know what that was? That was him saying, ‘I’m gonna do me.’ It’s a f----- joke.

”I mean, what the f--- are you doing? We’ve got Aaron Rodgers, the best I’ve ever seen, and you’re gonna take that risk? I mean, it’s ‘12’! All you gotta do is give him the ball, and you know what’s gonna happen.”

It’s a leap to go from what that person told Silver to the idea that he deliberately ran the ball out of the end zone as an act of defiance. McCarthy’s suggestion that he did it unthinkingly, just looking for a big play, is also a viable explanation here.

Another teammate, Tramon Williams, stuck up for Montgomery:

Montgomery refused to talk to reporters after the game, but the next day he denied he brought the ball out because he was unhappy:

Montgomery acknowledged his mistake, but also seemed upset what his teammates said to Silver. As he told Demovsky:

“It’s very frustrating that the perception in the media now is no one has my back. I’m insubordinate. I’m a cancer, whatever is out there.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s not true that’s causing me to have to deal with false accusations about my character, perceptions about my character. I’ve never been one to throw teammates under the bus.”

In the end both sides decided it was best to move on.