Matt Forte works out during a summer training camp practice at Olivet Nazarene University on July 30, 2011, in Bourbonnais.
Matt Forte calls it as he sees it.
Prior to the start of Chicago Bears training camp 10 days ago in Bourbonnais, the runningback said he "thought about" not reporting unless he got a new contract.
He showed up on time. Last week, Forte's agent Adisa Bakari was at camp meeting with Bears brass Jerry Angelo and contract negotiator Cliff Stein to discuss a new deal for Forte, who is getting paid $550,000 in the last year of his rookie deal.
Forte says talks are going well. But when Forte was asked if he'd consider not playing preseason games without a new deal, he said yes.
"Because of the risk of injury and all that other stuff, you want to be locked up in a deal before you go out there and put your body on the line," Forte told reporters Sunday at lunch.
"That's a concern of mine," he said. "You don't want to go out there and God forbid something happens and they go, 'Oh you're injured,' and can't give you a new deal."
While appearing on NBCChicago's Sports Sunday, Forte didn't want to discuss his contract after Coach Lovie Smith reportedly said he will make decisions on who plays in games, and if a player is healthy they will play.
In three seasons Forte has picked up 3,000-plus rushing yards and 1,495 receiving yards. His all-purpose skills are what he believes sets him apart from other runningbacks in the league.
"I think I'm among the top [runningbacks in the league] because I'm an every-down back," he said. "Pick up pass protection, run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield, all aspects of the position need to be done."
Forte also knows more and more NFL teams don't invest in runningbacks as a position with lots of options each year in the draft.
"I've heard some people say it's an expendable position. ... It's a dangerous position and maybe one of the most injured positions in the NFL".
One can't blame Forte for concern over injuries, but the Bears won't look too kindly to pressure from a 4th year player already under contract. The clock is ticking, who's alarmed now?