Matt Forte: My New Favorite Chicago Bear
Oct 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) reacts after a touchdown during the second half at Soldier Field. Miami Dolphins defeat the Chicago Bears 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
We all watch and enjoy football because we like the game, the team aspect, fantasy football, etc. However, we also like to connect with specific players. Call it childish – but it’s part of being a fan. One of my biggest issues with the 2014 Chicago Bears is that they were not a very “likable” team, making it very difficult to connect with the players.
With Charles Tillman, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs all distant memories, it has become time to think about picking a player that we all feel a connection with. A favorite. It does not have to be the best player, just a player that you connect with. For example, for the longest time I looked up to guys like Donnell Woolford in the 90’s and Mike Brown in the early 00’s. They weren’t the best at their position and didn’t even play for long spans at times (Brown), but they played larger than they were and had character. This is why it’s a no-brainer that Forte is my new favorite Bear. I understand that he was on the team last year but what he did, how he played and how he displayed himself was overshadowed by a black cloud over the organization. This caused me, and probably a lot of other Bear fans, to take what he has done for granted – which will not happen again this year. How he’s handled his contract discussions and the professionalism he displays makes him even more likable.
I have to admit, when the Bears drafted Forte I was upset and did not think he would pan out (shows what I know!). I wanted Ray Rice and felt like we made a big mistake by passing on Rice. Now, Forte is a guy that I have grown to love watching and admire. For example, as mentioned before, the way he’s handled the offseason contract talks has shown how professional and savvy he actually is. He has a good contract, so lets not feel too bad for him. However, running backs take a beating during an NFL season and playing on a one year deal cannot be reassuring to Forte or his family in the long-term. That said, he’s at camp, he’s shown up and he’s not complaining – which is more than we can say about one of his other teammates in camp:
"“You’ve got to be patient in these types of things and nobody’s going to force anybody’s hand on either side so you just have to be patient that’s about the only thing I learned from the past” stated Forte…..”As you can see I’m out here at OTAs and I don’t have any injuries, I’m not nursing anything like that.”"
It’s going to be a tough decision for Pace and his staff to evaluate what type of offer they want to present to Forte but the fact that it has not been addressed does not look good for Matt. I totally understand that the running back position in the NFL has become one of the most replaceable positions in the NFL so that’s why the resigning is not a no-brainer. However, special 2-way backs like Forte and KC’s Jamaal Charles are not a dime a dozen. Combine that with the character and work-ethic, you have a guy that you must try hard and keep around for a while.
With the leadership breakdown last year, look for Forte and even a guy like Kyle Long to take on that leadership role that the Bears desperately need in the locker room. Let’s face it, Cutler’s not that guy so stop expecting him to be. He may not even need to be with guys like Forte in the locker room which may take the pressure off of Cutler so he can just perform. With all of the negativity the fans had to endure last year, take a second and look around at the positives with your favorite team, which is what I vow to do in 2015. No matter what happens, Forte gives me a reason to be optimistic for 2015 and another reason to watch and enjoy the 2015 Bears like the fan that I am.
Who has become your favorite Bear?