Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Lovie Smith OK with Matt Forte
By Michael Wright
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith considers the offseason "the time to go through the negotiation and get what you feel you deserve," and that's why he's not overly concerned about running back Matt Forte again voicing displeasure about his contract situation.
"Right now, Matt Forte the football player has a problem with our organization. It's not about one person," Smith said.
Forte last week expressed frustration about the current state of negotiations with the Bears when the club announced it had signed free-agent running back Michael Bush as a reserve. Forte stated on Twitter that he was "not mad at the signing of another running back."
"But as for not taking care of ur own, and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story!" Forte wrote.
Having been in contact with Forte, Smith didn't seem concerned about his running back's status for 2012. The Bears designated Forte their franchise player as the sides continue to work on a long-term deal. The sides have until July 16 to do a multiyear extension; after that, Forte will have to play under the franchise tag, which comes with a salary of $7.74 million.
"I think we have a grown man who can make decisions on how they want to handle situations," Smith said. "Matt has been here a long time. He doesn't feel good about his contract situation. He voiced that. I don't make too big a deal about it. I've been in Chicago a long time. I've seen a lot of contract situations. In the end if you know the person, normally you come to a good understanding at the end. That's what we'll do."
With the start of the club's offseason conditioning program on the horizon, it's almost a given that Forte won't be in attendance. Smith pointed out the fact that Forte "hasn't missed anything that we've ever done."
"This is part of the process," Smith said. "So I don't think we need to get too caught up in it. This time of year, as much as anything, is about exciting things that (are) happening. We're about trying to get Matt better."