D’onta Foreman’s path has been anything but easy since he entered the NFL in 2017.
Just 11 games into his rookie season, Foreman tore his left Achilles on a 34-yard touchdown run against the Cardinals. After that run, Foreman later played with the Titans after two years in Houston, but he only went on to rush for 94 yards on 29 carries the next three seasons.
During the 2021 season, Forman’s father, Darreck, passed away in a vehicle accident in Oklahoma.
The adversity kept piling on, but despite all of the obstacles, Foreman kept his playing career alive. After Derrick Henry broke his foot against the Colts on October 31, 2021, Foreman became the Titans’ lead running back — finishing with 133 rushing attempts for 566 yards and three touchdowns.
Foreman then went to Carolina and had a career-best season in 2022. The former third-round running back out of Texas carried the ball 203 times for 914 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He also finished in the top half of the league among running backs (No. 14) in designed runs of 15 or more yards.
“I learned a lot about myself just through my injuries, through losing my dad. Just the precious things I went through,” Foreman said. “Being injured, not being able to play at the level that I wanted to play at. And it taught me a lot about myself. Taught me a lot about my resistance, taught me a lot about, you know just the growth I needed to get to. Start seeing things different not even in just football but just in life. As a man, just growing, trying to be better outside of football just as a person.
And just trying to figure out, you know, what was causing me to have those type of depressions, not be as happy as I wanted to be. I think that as I kind of went through that phase of my life, I think it just changed a lot about me. Changed a lot about my mentality, the way I look at things, the way I view situations. I think that has helped me a lot. I’ve grown a lot, and I just want to continue to grow, continue to get better as a person, as a football player. Just keep elevating.”
But now the sixth-year pro has another chance to showcase what is capable of on the football field. Foreman signed with the Bears on a one-year, $3 million contract last week. A prove-it deal for a player who doesn’t need any outside motivation to keep him going.
With David Montgomery now in Detroit, Khalil Herbert is Foreman’s main competition for the starting role. Even though the two may end up sharing the workload throughout the season, Foreman understands there is an opportunity ahead of him.
“I can’t really speak for the coaches and the plan that they have,” Foreman said. “I came here to try to be the guy. I think if I didn’t come here with that mentality, I would be doing myself a disservice. I think I would be doing the team a disservice. All due respect, humble confidence, not trying to make it seem like anything other than just exactly what it is. That’s just me being confident in myself and feeling like I could come in and be the guy and be a guy that people count on and I can help us win.
“I didn’t come here to take a backseat to anybody. I’m a team guy. I want to do anything I can do to help in any role that they put me in, but coming here with the mindset of wanting to be the guy, wanting to be a person who can help this team and make a lot of plays for this team. I know that’s my mentality and I plan on doing that.”
Foreman may be coming off his best statistical season with the Panthers, but he knows he is capable of doing more on the football field. He doesn’t believe his 23 career receptions since 2017 should define him in that area of his game.
“And also, what people don’t give me credit for because I haven’t been able to show it a lot with the teams I’ve been on is how well I can catch the ball and what I can do in the backfield as far as being a receiver,” Foreman said. “That’s something that I really want to showcase. I’m looking forward to it, man. Being here, if I get that opportunity, it’ll take my game to a different level.”
Foreman has faced plenty of obstacles in his life, but how he has grown from those moments and his overall resiliency has put him in the position he is in today — in contention to be a lead back in the NFL.