Contract question lingers for Bears' Forte
The two-time Pro Bowl running back just can't quite dodge it.
Forte was asked this week if he was disappointed new general manager Ryan Pace said no when he asked for an extension.
''I'm under contract anyway,'' Forte said. ''When I was talking about the deal and that type of stuff, it really made sense. From my aspect I was trying to lower the cap number and then I'd be able to continue my career here as well. But you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Like I've said plenty of times both sides have to want to do it.''
The Bears did not.
Now, at age 29, the four-year deal he signed in 2012 is set to expire. He enters his eighth season not knowing if his time in Chicago is winding down, if he will be suiting up for another team in 2016.
''Whether it's a contract, whether it's a nagging injury, whether it's a conflict in some facet of their life, they have to overcome that,'' coach John Fox said. ''It's just what we deal with. We're very well compensated for what we do and those are the expectations.''
Forte insisted he has put whatever disappointment he felt in the spring behind him.
''The NFL is production-based,'' he said. ''You produce, you get rewarded. But then sometimes when it comes time to be rewarded it doesn't happen and if you complain about it you're a bad guy or something like that. I'm not worried about it because I'm at the end of my deal. It's my last year in this deal and I was compensated correctly four years ago, so at the end of this deal we'll see what happens.''
The Bears are rebooting after going 5-11 in a distraction-filled season - the last for former general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. Chicago overhauled the front office and coaching staff. The defense has a new look, with the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4.
On offense, Fox has made it clear he wants to emphasize the run and will make sure new offensive coordinator Adam Gase sticks with that plan.
That means Forte should see a rise in rushing attempts from 16.6 per game last season and a drop in receptions after finishing with 102 - a record for an NFL running back. He joined LaDainian Tomlinson as the only players with 100 catches and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season, mainly because of how unbalanced Chicago's offense was.
''Catching 100 balls is not my goal as a running back,'' Forte said.
The Bears threw 609 passes last season, tied for seventh in the league. They were 30th in rushing attempts with 355.
''If you're running the ball and you can run it effectively, you get to control the clock and keep other offenses off the field, which is what we want to do,'' Forte said. ''If we can control the game, control the pace of the game, and grind out tough yards and score, then that's what we're going to do.''
Notes: CB Tim Jennings said he is ready to ''move forward'' after pleading guilty Thursday to reckless driving in Georgia. Jennings was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and must complete a substance abuse program. He paid a $1,147 fine. The plea stems from an arrest in the Atlanta area in January after he was pulled over for driving 99 mph in a 65 mph zone. Jennings was back with the Bears on Friday after having an excused absence the previous day. ... The Bears signed G Tyler Moore to a three-year contract. He is an undrafted rookie out of Florida. ... Fox said CB Kyle Fuller ''tweaked'' his ankle during Friday's practice. He remained on the field but was held out of drills the rest of the way. ''I don't know the extent of it,'' said Fox, who had not met with trainers when he addressed the media. ... Rookie DT Eddie Goldman left practice early because of dehydration. ... TE Dante Rosario had an excused absence.
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