If, as Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has hinted, the contract talks with Matt Forte are on hold until the end of the season, the fourth-year running back could become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and shop his services to all 32 teams.
"I've thought about that," Forte said. "Hopefully if the Bears don't, another team will see the value."
The Bears could keep Forte off the market for another year by placing the franchise tag on him, which would come with a salary of roughly $10 million. An injury could scuttle any lucrative financial plans but that's something Forte says he will ignore.
"You can't worry about that," he said. "If you play like that, you probably will get injured. I'm playing this year just like I play every year, just going into the season with no regrets about what I've done, no worries about injuries and all that stuff.
"But I am human. I am going to be thinking about the contract situation and all that stuff and what happened. But I've just got to focus on playing football."
Forte says he doesn't need the carrot of a big payday or the bitterness over the lack of an extension to stoke his fire.
"I've always had a fire underneath me since I came into the league," he said. "Coming out of a small school (Tulane) and all that, a lot of people say stuff about guys who come out of small schools. But I've always had a fire; nothing's changed."
Forget about it:
It seems the Bears are an afterthought among most of the national "experts" and publications, but the players don't care.
"Every year at this time we say the same thing," Brian Urlacher said. "We're the underdogs again. That's the way it is every year, and we seem to do decent in that role.
"So we'll just do our best and go out there and try and give a couple teams some games this year. We'll do the best we can."
Running back Matt Forte questions the qualifications of the so-called "experts."
"I really don't care what the experts say because they just call themselves experts," Forte said. "I don't know who named them experts. We think we're a good team, and that's all that matters."
The bigger they are:
The Falcons have excellent size at wide receiver with 6-foot, 211-pound Pro Bowler Roddy White and 6-foot-3, 220-pound first-round pick Julio Jones. But being at a size disadvantage is nothing unusual for the Bears' 5-foot-9, 180-pound nickel cornerback D.J. Moore.
"Well, they're big, but they're not like giants or nothing like that," said Moore, who had 4 interceptions last season. "(Jones) is a rookie, and he hasn't played yet, so he really doesn't know how good he is."
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