Matt Forte says his days as a Chicago Bear are over.
The running back who is headed to free agency released this statement Friday morning through social media:
“Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end. I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history.”
The Bears expressed their gratitude to Forte in a statement:
“We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season,” Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said. “These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”
During Super Bowl week, Forte wasn’t sure which way the Bears would go. He told the Sun-Times: “The contract is only a small part of it. You gotta consider the team — more specifically the quarterback that’s there. They have a good O-line? I also gotta consider the best place for my family to be.”
In his eight seasons with the Bears, Forte rushed for 8,602 yards on 2,035 attempts and caught 487 passed for 4,116 yards. His 12,718 yards from scrimmage places him 49th among the all-time NFL leaders.
In Bears’ history, Forte ranks second only to Walter Payton in yards from scrimmage, rushing yards and receptions (five short).