Former Bears RB Matt Forte retires — ‘Workhorse to finally rest in his stable’

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Matt Forte is retiring. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — Matt Forte, the best Bears running back since Walter Payton, retired Wednesday after 10 seasons — all but two with the team that drafted him in 2008.

On his Twitter page, he thanked the Bears’ owners and fans.

‘‘To the McCaskey family and the entire Chicago Bears organization, thank you for the honor of allowing me to be a part of the rich Chicago Bears tradition and to run in the footsteps of greats like Gale Sayers and Walter Payton,’’ he wrote. ‘‘Lastly, to all Chicago Bears fans, you’re truly the best fans in all of professional sports. Thank you for embracing my family and me from day one! The roar of the crowd at Soldier Field as I’d break a run or make a big catch will forever be ingrained in my mind.’’

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Forte, a two-time Pro Bowl player, took pride in his durability, playing 120 of 128 games in eight seasons with the Bears. In 2014, he set the NFL single-season record for receptions by a running back with 102.

When the Bears decided to let him walk via free agency after the 2015 season, Forte left one item in his locker at Halas Hall: his favorite navy-blue T-shirt, with the sleeves cut off, that said ‘‘Workhorse’’ above his No. 22 on the back.

‘‘It’s time for the workhorse to finally rest in his stable,’’ he wrote.

When Forte signed a three-year contract with the Jets, he ranked second in Bears history — behind Payton — with 8,602 rushing yards and 487 receptions. His 4,116 career receiving yards are seventh-most in Bears history and trail only Payton among running backs.

Forte started only 17 of the 26 games in which he appeared for the Jets. Still, he is the NFL’s leader with 14,468 yards from scrimmage since the Bears drafted him in the second round in 2008.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

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