Running back Matt Forte still wants a new deal from the Bears. But the lack of one won’t keep him out of Bourbonnais when training camp begins in late July.
It remains to be seen if the same can be said about tight end Martellus Bennett.
After promising to show up, Forte was present at Halas Hall Wednesday when organized team activities began under new coach John Fox. Forte has now promised to be at camp.
“It’s a new regime so they have to get to know you,” Forte said after on-the-field work concluded. “They probably know a lot about me from afar, seeing me play while they coached on different teams.
“But to actually coach somebody on the field and seeing the person is different. That’s why I’m out here and continuing to work to get to know the offense and get that cohesion with the offensive line and everybody.”
Bennett isn’t part of that picture at the moment. He’s looking for new contract after a career-best season.
Similar to Forte, Bennett skipped the Fox’s voluntary minicamp and other workouts. But Bennett’s absence continued this week, whereas Forte has been at Halas Hall for some time.
Bennett has two years remaining on a four-year contract signed in 2013. Forte is the final year of a four-year deal from 2012.
“I prefer guys be here, but if they’re not, they’re not,” Fox said on May 10.
Forte said there haven’t been any new contract talks, but he remains hopeful something works out. He preached patience and made it clear that the mood isn’t as heated as his contract talks in 2012.
“Nobody’s going to force anybody’s hand on either side,” Forte said. “The situation a couple years ago was being vastly underpaid. That’s not the situation now.”
Forte indicated that his offer was to lower his cap hit of $9.2 million for the 2015 season by adding more years and getting the opportunity to retire as a Bear. Forte, who turns 30 in December, has a base salary of $7.05 million for 2015.
“Nobody wants to play on a one-year deal, especially the uncertainty of how football is with how it goes,” Forte said. “You just figure like a guy who’s been there since Day 1, continues to put in hard work and has produced, you figure that that guy should be rewarded. But in this business, that doesn’t always happen.”
But a big season under new offensive coordinator Adam Gase could make it so.
“All I can do is play football,” Forte said. “I’ve come to the realization that every run or catch that I may have might be my last in a Bears uniform, so if they don’t want to re-sign me, I’ll have to play somewhere else then.”