Matt Forte flirts with idea of holdout

Updated: January 19, 2012, 1:07 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte joked Wednesday that he may be hard to find if the franchise tag is put on him before training camp next season, although he wouldn't call it an official holdout.

Forte has been seeking an extension since the preseason, and he said the two sides were far apart.

"A lot of teams franchise guys so that they can get a deal done or negotiate a deal," Forte said on "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000. "It just depends on what the motive of that is."

And if Forte perceives the Bears' motive to be less than committed to an extension?

"I wouldn't say holdout, but people probably wouldn't know where I was," said Forte, who admitted there's a "pretty good chance" he'll be franchised.

Forte was easy to spot this season, leading the offense with over 1,400 yards from scrimmage through the first 12 games before a knee injury ended his season and led to the Bears losing three of their last four and missing the playoffs.

ESPNChicago.com reported the Bears' final offer to Forte contained between $13-$14 million in guarantees.

"A lot of people said do I regret turning down the money and then playing and getting injured, I would say no, because I'm not going to let anyone undervalue me as a player," Forte said. "I know what type of value I have to the team and the offense. And I'm not going to just accept a deal because that's what their offer was and they're not going to budge. I'm not going to accept that.

"We were I would say a good ways apart. If you compared stats with other guys and salaries what other running backs make, and then what they offered me, it was like two different sides of the world."

Forte said he'll be taking a physical soon on his left knee and plans to play in the Jan. 29 Pro Bowl, which will be his first.

As far as being a Bear next season, he said he senses he'll remain in Chicago.

"My gut tells me so right now," he said. "This is where I was drafted and I'd love to stay here. I love the team and the coaches and everybody."

And the fact Jerry Angelo was fired after the season made him a little more optimistic that a deal can get done with a new general manager.

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