Matt Forte was Smooth

Chicago Bears (Photo b David Banks/Gett Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo b David Banks/Gett Images) /

Former Chicago Bears’ RB Matt Forte has retired. He was truly something special during his days in Chicago.

February 28, 2018; Matt Forte has announced his own retirement via Twitter and all of us in Chicago Bears Nation reflect on the career of a fantastic player. More than likely the third most prolific running back this historic franchise has ever churned out.

Hailing from the unheralded Tulane University, Forte was selected with the 44th overall pick by the Bears in the 2008 NFL draft. In that time from his ridiculous debut in Indianapolis to his final season in the Big Apple he compiled 14,468 total yards from scrimmage. Which according to Field Yates is best in the NFL during that time frame. 9796 came on the ground and 4672 came by way of the air.

Forte’ always seemed to be underrated in the eyes of the national media and even by some fans (myself included). As he just never was an over-the-top highlight or had a big-time quote. He simply went out and played football.

He’d be criticized all throughout his career for running out-of-bounds and not putting his shoulder into a defender to get that one extra yard, being less than stellar at the goal line and simply just not being the best running back fans had ever seen for the most part.

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To compare his style to music is the easiest way to describe how he played. Payton was classic rock, Jordan Howard currently is more metal in how he runs. Forte was smooth jazz. Not everyone’s cup of tea as it’s not a super mainstream. Smooth jazz though, it’s good. One has to appreciate it. Exactly how we should Matt’s career and play.

Forte’s aesthetic from just how easy everything looked when he did on the field: how fluid he was out of breaks as a receiver; the smoothness and effortlessness of his jump cuts in space to make men miss; the long strides that made him pull away from defenders even though he never quite looked like he was covering much ground.

Forte was, simply put, a jack of all trades. He could block, catch, run and he also scored a fair amount of touchdowns. 75 of them to be exact (feels like Boobie Miles from Friday Night Lights, right?).

He just never seemed to get the notoriety around the league that both his skill set and production warranted. He appeared in only two Pro Bowls and having never been named to any All-Pro teams. To be clear, none of that is his fault.

During his productive 10-season career, he only saw one playoff appearance, disappointingly. Deserving much more than that considering his attitude, numbers and willingness to share the brunt of the offensive load.

Even for myself, I never truly appreciated him when he was here as he never really suited my style or aesthetic either. Preferentially, more physical, bruising, stoutly built runners are what pleases the eye.

All that being said Matt Forte was a great Bear, a better person and I wish him nothing but the best in his life following his retirement from the NFL. He’ll never have his number retired, wear a Super Bowl ring, don a gold jacket or obtain the prominence he truly deserved. But he did have one HELL of a career.

Thank you, Matt Forte. Not only for those 75 career touchdowns, 4.1 YPC, 554 career receptions and 14,468 yards from scrimmage. But for giving us all those fond memories. Many of which weren’t appreciated at the time.

Bear down and enjoy retirement: every bit of it and drink it in. It always goes down smooth.