Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said Tuesday he hopes to see disgruntled running back Matt Forte during the summer, although it doesn't sound like he expects to see him Monday at the first voluntary offseason conditioning workout.
Forte can't attend the workouts if he doesn't sign the tender he received after being designated as the team's franchise player, or if he can't get an extension worked out.
"The word is that he's not going to be going, but that's just rumors," Cutler said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I mean I don't know.
"I know it's going to be hard for Matt not to be there. I think he's pretty disappointed about how things have gone, but at the same time this is business. It's business for both sides. The Bears have to do what's best for them in the long run, and Matt has to do what's best for him in the long run. I hope to see him at some point this summer. I know we're going to be putting in a lot of good things for him offensively. He's a smart guy. If he doesn't come in in training camp, I think he'll pick it up pretty quickly."
Free-agent acquisition Michael Bush could benefit from Forte's absence.
"Michael Bush will get a lot of reps then if ’Matt's not there, and he'’ll get to know the offense," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "Matt takes care of himself. He knows the offense, he’s a smart guy, he’s always in shape. He’s the least of my concerns. He’ll be at training camp when he needs to be. Either way, he’ll be there."
The Bears' front office remains optimistic.
"You look at it different ways. Matt has been here a long time," coach Lovie Smith said recently. "He doesn’t feel good about his contract situation. He voiced that. I don’t make too big of a deal about it. I’ve been in Chicago a long time. I’ve seen a lot of contract situations. In the end, if you know the person normally you can come to a good understanding at the end. That’s what we’ll do."