By Rusty Simmons
Players listed the competition for Cal's starting tailback position as one of the most interesting to follow, but no one predicted that James Montgomery would add intrigue to the situation before spring practice even started. "We've got some studs there," junior linebacker Zack Follett said recently, "so we're anxious to see how it plays out." There's one fewer "stud" now, a day after Montgomery was granted his release from scholarship by coach Jeff Tedford. Montgomery, a 5-foot-9, 205-pounder from Rancho Cordova High, and his mother met with Tedford for about an hour before receiving the release.
"James Montgomery asked for his release and I granted it," Tedford said in a statement. "He felt like there would be a better situation for him somewhere else." Montgomery, who was listed as the starter on the spring depth chart despite recovering from a minor knee surgery, was expected to compete with up-and-coming redshirt freshman Shane Vereen, soon-to-be sophomore Tracy Slocum and Arizona-recruit Covaughn Deboskie. Jahvid Best, who isn't expected to participate in spring drills as he recovers from a hip injury, might be the front-runner if healthy by training camp. "It's a shock to everybody," said Justin Forsett, the senior starter last season who is projected as a second-day NFL pick. "It's unfortunate that he's no longer a Bear, but sometimes you have to do what is best for you."
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