Matt Forte may skip preseason opener

Updated: August 7, 2011, 4:13 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Bears running back Matt Forte is considering sitting out Chicago's first preseason game on Saturday against the Buffalo Bills as his agent continues to negotiate a long-term extension with the organization.

"That's a possibility," Forte said on Sunday.

Forte, who is scheduled to earn $550,000 in base salary in the final year of his rookie contract, cites safety as the main reason he might make the difficult decision to skip the preseason opener.

"It's a concern of mine," Forte said. "You don't want to go out there in a preseason game and, god forbid, something happened and then they say, 'Oh, you're injured, we can't give you a new deal.'

"When you get to 29 or 30 years old, they look at you and say you're pretty old as a running back. In this position, you don't see a lot of guys get long-term deals. You don't see a lot of teams pay running backs. Some people say it's an expendable position; they get a new guy in every year. It's a dangerous position and maybe one of the most injured positions in the NFL."

Forte, however, has yet to personally share those concerns with the Bears.

"No, I haven't talked to them, the game is a week away," Forte said. "That would be something I would have to talk to Coach (Lovie Smith) about as well as my position coach (Tim Spencer) and (Bears general manager) Jerry (Angelo)."

Since entering the NFL in 2008 as a second-round pick out of Tulane, Forte ranks fifth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (4,731), behind Chris Johnson, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew and St. Louis' Steven Jackson.

Carolina Panthers rusher DeAngelo Williams recently signed a five-year, $43 million contract, including $21 million guaranteed.

While Angelo acknowledged at the start of training camp that hammering out an extension for Forte wouldn't be a simple process, both sides continue to maintain the talks are progressing in a positive manner.

"It's going well, to my knowledge," Forte said. "I spoke to my agent yesterday and he told me this process doesn't [occur] in one day or one night. It's going to take a little bit, but the deal will get done, I believe.

"I can't put a time frame on it, neither can they, but I think it's going to get done before the season."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.