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Bears rewarded for use of RB Forté

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Dec. 31, 2010 @ 9:57 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

The coaching staff's decision to get RB Matt Forté more involved on offense, and Forté's response to the increased role, has played a role in Chicago's improvement on offense in the second half of the season and he's only 22 rushing yards and 13 receiving yards away from joining elite company. Forté would be the second back in franchise history to gain 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in one season if he picks up the needed yards against the Packers in Week 17. Walter Payton is the only other Bears player to have achieved that feat.

After a disappointing 2009 season, there were some doubts about Forté's ability to be the team's long-term answer at running back, but those questions seem to have been answered.

Chicago recently signed a couple of players — LS Patrick Mannelly and DT Matt Toeaina — who were going to become free agents this offseason to contract extensions, and the team is expected to try to get deals done with some other players before their contracts expire.

Some observers are wondering if the Bears will try to reward Forté with a new deal in the offseason prior to the final season under his rookie contract. More than a few teams could be interested in making a bid on Forté if he's allowed to hit the open market after the 2011 campaign.

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