Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte said last Friday he might hold out of training camp but is optimistic about his nonstop talks with the team. Baseball spreads
“Me and my agent are talking to the Bears,” Forte asserted. “So talks continue to go on. I am really hopeful about that part — we continue to debate.”
The Chicago Bears applied the franchise tag on Forte and have until July 16 to sign him to a long term deal. If Forte and the Bears don’t reach a long term agreement by then, Forte must play under the franchise tag, which should pay approximately $7.7 million.
“A lot of fans don’t appreciate when fellows hold out and stuff like that,” Forte recounted. “But if it is a player and that’s his leverage, he should use it. As a team, they are going to use their leverage when they are negotiating against you.”
The uncertain nature of the talks had Forte reputedly going backwards and forwards on his options.
“Not playing at all? That actually is a choice, but there’s a slight possibility of that happening. There’s another choice of not being in camp and that stuff. There’re 2 sides to it,” said Forte, who later announced he would not miss the entire 2012 season.
Forte, who missed 4 games last season with a sprained MCL in his knee, said the contract talks became personal when he read the Bears were worried about his knees.
“You can’t let it get too personal. It’s always personal when you’re dealing with the business side of the league because they are talking about you as a person,” Forte asserted. “And when you’re a sports figure, and you’ve done everything that you’ve been asked to do and you’ve excelled out there on the field and then go out in the media, and you see stuff written about you how they’re devaluing you as a player at your position, and saying you’re not as good as you believe you are, this and that.
“The stats can’t lie. If you have good stats and you’re playing good, you’re obviously a good player. It gets personal when you get devalued like that.”
Regardless of missing 4 games, Forte surged for a team-high 997 yards as well as catching 52 passes for 490 yards last season.
Bears QB Jay Cutler said last week that he didn’t anticipate Forte to hold out from camp.
“I would be shocked if he does not sign his tender by July 15, or whenever it is, and he shows up. It might truly be a shock to me (if Forte misses any training camp),” Cutler declared. “At the end of the day, I think Matt knows it is business. He’s still getting 7-whatever-million dollars to play this year. So he’s going to show up.”
Forte made it clear that if he misses training camp he’ll be prepared to go for the regular season because of how well he trains on his own.
“People are worried about not being at OTAs and things like that. We missed last year during the lockout and I get extremely good training anyway,” he said.