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Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte indicated he's forgotten about Jay Cutler's experience in the team's loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, and suggested his quarterback should do the same.
From Forte's standpoint at informal Bears workouts this offseason, Cutler appears to be taking that advice.
"What he has to do is forget what happened, and I think he already has," Forte said Thursday on the "Carmen, Jurko & Harry" radio show on ESPN 1000. "Just seeing him out when we were running routes, he's 100 percent throwing the ball just like he's always done, taking drops and looks very good. So he has to forget about what happened, and continue to play at that high level he was at winning all those games last year. I think he's going to come out and do that."
Cutler's knee injury and the resulting fallout from the team's 21-14 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers have been well-documented. But for Cutler's teammates, it's a distant memory.
What's important now, according to coach Lovie Smith, general manager Jerry Angelo and several Bears is how Cutler responds to dealing with the adversity from last season. Cutler appears to have taken the right steps by organizing informal passing workouts with teammates at undisclosed locations in the area.
Forte said he and Cutler have been in contact throughout the offseason.
"We had a lot of contact," Forte said. "The weather is crazy up here, but once it finally got good enough to where we can go and safely run routes and catch the ball, we got together multiple times every week. Everybody from the skill positions was there catching balls and running routes. So I think it was a really good thing that he got everyone together."
As for his contract, Forte said he'd prefer to let his agent, Adisa Bakari, handle the situation. Heading into the final year of his contract, Forte is scheduled to earn $555,000 in 2011. But his statistics since entering the league in 2008 indicate that Forte has outperformed the contract he signed as a rookie.
Since entering the NFL, Forte ranks fifth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (4,731 yards), behind Tennessee's Chris Johnson, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew and St. Louis' Steven Jackson. Yet Forte's backup, Chester Taylor, pocketed more ($7 million) in 2010 alone than the total value of Forte's contract.
"My agent is handling that, and he's in talks with the Bears people," Forte said. "Look at the stats over the last three years, and I'm among the top five running backs in all-purpose yards and touchdowns and all that stuff. So hopefully we can do something."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.