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BY JEFF DICKERSON
DETROIT -- After a season of wondering what was wrong with Matt Forte, the Bears finally admitted injuries played a role in his mediocre 2009 campaign.
"I think [his health] had something to do with it," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "I don't think coming into it he was as healthy as he was a year ago. I think as the season wore on, that improved, and it showed."
Forte dealt with hamstring problems in the offseason, then apparently hurt his MCL early in the season.
"I think there was a drop-off [after the MCL injury], definitely," Turner said. "I don't think he had the acceleration or the burst we normally see from him. Yeah, I definitely had an affect."
"It's a factor anytime you play football, everybody has injuries," Forte said in the postgame locker room. "That's not an excuse as to why the running game struggled, or we had an unproductive season. But everybody has to deal with injuries."
Forte finished with 929 rushing yards and 471 receiving yards. Respectable numbers, but expect much better results in 2010 if Forte is able to stay healthy.