|Forte realizes he doesn't have much leverage in contract negotiations. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Bears running back Matt Forte admitted last week that the process of hammering out a long-term deal with his employer had left some "scars."
"That's what happens when you get into the business side of sports," the running back told the Chicago Sun-Times. "There's an easy way to get over those scars, but we'll see. Everyone looks at it and says, 'Oh, it's only about money. It's not only about money.' It's about you going out there and putting your heart and soul on the field, being respected for what you do, and then being rewarded for it."
It's still not clear when the organization will "reward" Forte, or if they will pay him anything close to what he's looking for. (He said recently that "Market value, that's basically what I'm talking about," before pointing to the five-year, $40-something million deals inked by LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster.) Despite the impasses, the Bears' running back also recognizes the reality of the situation: when the 2012 season rolls around he'll be on the field.
"I don't think I really have a choice, do I?" he said Friday according to ESPNChicago.com. "Yeah, I'll be here."
Worst case: Forte is forced to sign his franchise tender, which means he'll make $7.749 million next season before becoming a free agent next spring. For now, he's focusing on the positive.
"It's going to be a fun season," he said before adding: "I'm excited to get in there and talk to Mr. (Jeremy) Bates (Bears QB coach) and get in there with Jay (Cutler) and see what he thinks about the passing game, and see how I can get involved in that, too."
Earlier this summer, Cutler predicted that Forte would sign his franchise tender by mid-July, which, understandably, didn't sit well with Forte. "It kind of looks bad when other people speak for you. [Cutler] doesn't really know what's going to happen. He's not in the negotiations," Forte told Cowley. "He's just being optimistic. He wants me there, I want to be there. But it's just a matter of what happens in the next couple of weeks."
Now, it looks like the Bears' offense will have Cutler, Forte, newcomer Brandon Marshall and perhaps most importantly, new offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Cutler has called Tice's predecessor, Mike Martz, inflexible at times, which might explain Forte's interest in Chicago's revamped offense, one that will likely patronize the run more consistently.
"Coach Tice is a great coach and I've known that since he coached Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor down in Jacksonville with their running games," Forte said. "When he got here, I knew it would be the same thing. To have him as coordinator now, it's going to be something to watch. I'm excited about it."
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