Matt Forte remains optimistic
"Hopefully, it will end up well," Forte told ESPN.com NFL Insider Adam Schefter. "And when? Hopefully by the 16th. That's the final date, so I'm looking forward to trying to get it done by then."
The Bears placed the franchise tag on Forte, who will play one season for $7.749 million if a long-term deal isn't reached -- unless he holds out. Forte could decide that he doesn't want to risk injury and hold out until Week 10 before signing the franchise tender. If that's his strategy, he'll lose out on the pro-rated portion of the contract.
When asked what happens if Monday's deadline passes without a new deal, Forte said, "I think we all know what happens."
Forte wouldn't answer when asked if he will not be seen in training camp, but he recently admitted that he will have to play for the Bears at some point this season.
"I don't think I really have a choice, do I?" he said at a recent charity event. "Yeah, I'll be here."
But he played coy when asked if he'll be in training camp.
"It's going to be a fun season," he said.
Forte told Schefter he's an optimistic person and is hopeful a deal will be consummated.
"I'm a very optimistic guy, so going into this weekend I'm pretty optimistic that it will get done," Forte said. "Saying my prayers and everything, hopefully it will get done."
Forte hasn't participated in any OTAs, but he said his stamina or sharpness won't be a problem once he reports.
"No effect at all," he said. "I take training and preparing for the season very seriously. That's what I do. I'm not going to go into a season out of shape or not prepared for a game or prepared for the entire season."
"I don't think (Bush's presence) will affect me at all, negatively," Forte said. "If anything, it will be a positive. Ever since I came in as a rookie I always had another guy they brought in to be there. I think it will be a positive, he's a pretty good running back, and he'll be there to help us out.