Bears RB Matt Forté was calm and collected, as usual, when PFW approached him after he walked off the practice field Wednesday, and his demeanor didn't change when we asked him about his contract situation. He made it clear, though that he's disappointed the Bears haven't given him a new deal.
We asked Forté, who has been the focal point in the Bears' offense since the middle of last season, how much the frustration serves as motivation for him. He said he thought a deal would be done by now. However, there's no sign of progress on that front.
"It motivates me a lot," Forté said. "I've always been highly motivated by myself, anyway. Just the fact that there are naysayers out there and people who don't think that I'm as good as I am, I really don't care what they say. I go out there and play football like I'm the best running back every week."
Forté is in the final year of his rookie deal and has a base salary of $600,000. He has led the Bears in rushing and receiving in each game this season. He actually has produced 52 percent of the team's total yardage thus far, which he thinks shows that he's an elite back.
The Bears, he believes, don't feel the same way.
"It's pretty simple to me," Forté said. "If you look at production, usually guys get paid off of their production. You look at their production and what level that's on and you look at some guys who produce similarly and see what they get paid. It's not that hard.
"Obviously, somebody doesn't believe I'm an elite running back."
Bears GM Jerry Angelo held talks with Forté's agent, Adisa Bakari, during training camp and the preseason, but the two sides were unable to find common ground. The Bears still appear to be open to the idea of signing Forté to an extension, but Forté said he hasn't heard anything lately that leads him to believe a new deal could be just around the corner.
"I haven't heard much," Forté said. "I haven't heard much talk of anything going on right now, except a lot of fans saying, 'What's going on?' A lot of teammates are asking me how come I haven't gotten a deal done. I don't have the answer to that. I play like I know how to play every weekend. That's all I can do."
Forté might not feel support from the front office, but he said he does from his teammates.
"It's nice to be appreciated by my teammates," Forté said. "That's who we play for. You play for yourself, your family and the man next to you.
"I have to go out there every Sunday and perform, whether someone thinks I'm worth something or not."
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