How to beat a bear market

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
3:24
PM ET
Matt ForteFinlay MacKay for ESPN The MagazineThe 26-year-old running back spent the last year playing for pennies.
MATT FORTE WAS OPEN TO THE MEETING. His agent had advised against it because NFL players typically don't attend their own contract negotiations. Players are inherently emotional, negotiations are inherently confrontational and this negotiation, between the Bears and Forte's agent, Adisa Bakari, had turned emotional and confrontational in the preceding weeks. But in late August, days before the 2011 regular season was to begin, Jerry Angelo, the Bears' GM at the time, asked Forte, the Bears' star running back, to sit down. Forte, by nature a people pleaser, said sure.

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Seth Wickersham | email

ESPN The Magazine senior writer
Seth Wickersham joined ESPN The Magazine after graduating from the University of Missouri. Although he primarily covers the NFL, his assignments also have taken him to the Athens Olympics, the World Series, the NCAA tournament and the NHL and NBA playoffs.

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