Yes, I know, yet another Matt Forte article hits the front pages of Windy City Gridiron. But July 16 is moving ever closer if the two sides don't come to a long-term agreement by that time, then Forte will most likely be playing under the $7.749 million franchise tag. But recent comments made by Forte regarding the current situation didn't sit too well with me, and as each day passes, I feel that time and patience is running out for Matt Forte.
Forte recently appeared at a charity event at Marist High School in Chicago. The one quote from Forte that stood out, when asked whether he'll play this year was this:
"I don't think I really have a choice, do I?" he said. "Yeah, I'll be here."
You know what Matt? You do have a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you do anything. So far, you have made plenty of choices. You have chosen not to attend any workouts or team meetings. You have chosen to run up a hill and have someone film you, and then post it on the internet.
In his defense, Fotrte has always maintained just the right amount of diplomacy when discussing his contract situtations. Apart from a few babyish outbursts on Twitter, he has never really gone off at the deep end. But he has made several comments that seem a bit snide and sarcastic, and I really don't think this has done him any favours.
You know what I want out of Matt Forte? Someone who embraces what it means to play for one of the biggest teams in the NFL. Someone who respects the heritage and tradition of the Chicago Bears, and most importantly, wants to actually be a part of the team.
I know people are going to say that this is just the business side of football, and we shouldn't see it as anything personal. But come on; the Bears are not asking Forte to play for free. They have paid him for his services, and if/when he signs the franchise deal, he'll pocket $7 million, no matter what. Is that not enough for our illustrious running back? Oh no, Forte sees other backs getting big time multi-year contracts, and feels like he is entitled to the same treatment. And when he doesn't get it? He takes his ball and goes home.
It's hard for me to feel this way, because I generally like Matt Forte. I have never questioned his ability as a running back, although I would not have him in as a top 5 running back. His goal line play frequently lets him down, and he is coming off a season ending injury.
I don't want Forte to insinuate that he doesn't have choice but to play for the Bears. That's almost the same as saying that if he did have some kind of choice, he'd rather not play for Chicago. At least that's how it sounds to me.
The whole situation is an unfortunate one, and one hopes that Forte at least signs something; and soon. Like many others, I have no doubts that Forte will join the Bears at some point, and will take to the field come opening day. But I would just prefer that he really wants to be there, as oppose to him feeling like he has no other choice.