Brian Urlacher praises Matt Forte

Updated: November 4, 2011, 1:21 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said the team has tried not to be affected by Matt Forte's inability to get a contract extension, but the face of the franchise said it hasn't been easy.

"We try not to get into it," Urlacher said Thursday on "Mike and Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio. "It's hard, because Matt is so well-liked around here. He's obviously a great player, but he's a good guy. He's been a good guy since he's been here.

"You like to see guys like that taken care of, especially when you draft him. The Bears drafted him, he's done well here. You like to see him taken care of. That's what's so disappointing. You see guys do well in this system and the teams that drafted them, don't take care of them."

The Bears will put a franchise tag on Forte if a deal can't be worked out, sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. That did not please Forte, who said a franchise tag won't solve the problem but that he'll continue to play as hard as he can. Forte is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and is considered one of the most productive offensive players in the NFL.

"I'm sure it will get done, obviously later than sooner," Urlacher said. "He's been a great player for us and I definitely think he deserves a big contract. He's played up to those standards right now. In my mind he's the best running back in the NFL right now. There's no doubt about that."