Thursday, September 8, 2011
Forte, Bears dialogue may not be on hold
By Michael C. Wright
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo expressed regret Thursday about the team being unable to reach a deal to extend the contract of running back Matt Forte.
Despite the belief there was a mutual agreement between the sides to end discussions because of Sunday's start of the regular season, it's too early to close the door on a potential deal, given the up-in-the-air nature of difficult contract negotiations.
NFL sources and Forte have indicated as much.
Angelo, meanwhile, maintained the focus remains on "taking care of business" on the field.
Matt Forte didn't burn any bridges when it was thought talks with the Bears are over until the season is over, and now it appears talks may be ongoing.
"The big picture right now is the business of taking care of team business; winning football games," Angelo said. "That's the big picture. They did their best. We did our best; that's all I can say.
"Our intent was to get a deal done. We've had a good track record of doing it. Unfortunately, we were unable to accomplish that. It doesn't mean Matt's not going to be a Bear, and that it's over for Matt. We're not saying that. We think the world of Matt as a person and as a player, [and] we're excited to see what he does this year."
Forte maintained he plans to continue handling the situation professionally, and harbors no ill will toward Angelo. Forte is scheduled to receive $600,000 in base salary for the upcoming season, and apparently wasn't satisfied with the team's last contract offer, which according to ESPNChicago.com sources, was worth between $13-$14 million guaranteed.
Angelo declined to discuss a timetable for discussions between the sides restarting in earnest, and wouldn't confirm or deny whether the team and Forte's representatives have even stopped talking completely.
"What I don't want is [a situation where] every day [there's a] what's going on with the Matt Forte negotiation [update]. I don't want it. He doesn't want it," Angelo said. "My job is to keep all the core players that we can."
By all indications, Angelo appears to still be attempting just that.