Here is what running back Matt Forte, general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith had to say after the Bears used the No. 44 pick in the draft on the Tulane product:
On being drafted by the Bears:
I am happy to be drafted by the Chicago Bears, especially at running back. They have a great history of running backs there, so hopefully I can be one of those guys to make history as a Chicago Bear.
On how he will fit into the offense:
This is a great opportunity to come in and make a mark, I know their running back situation and I have a chance to come in and compete. Nothing is going to be given to me and I know I am going to have to come in and work hard, but its a good chance for me to show that I can play in this League and do well and become a great running back in the NFL.
On his impression of the coaching staff:
I had a great first impression of them, I love the coaches. Tim Spence came down to Tulane and him and I had a good time talking, and Lovie called me and told me that they were going to draft me and just talking to him, I get the feeling of what kind of coach he is. Hes a players coach and I think I am having a good time playing in Chicago and playing for him.
On playing in a cold weather city:
I played in the dome at Tulane, but before that I played outside. I played outside and in cold games and you just have to get used to it. It wouldnt be a big problem. I would just have to experience practicing out there in that weather and playing in the games and doing what I need to be successful.
On not getting a lot of hype leading up to the draft:
It didnt bother me to the point where I got upset or discouraged. I kind of welcomed it and competed harder in the Senior Bowl and the combine to make myself open some coaches eyes. It wasnt disheartening to me that I wasnt getting recognized. In high school I was overlooked a lot and was only offered one Division I scholarship, so it was kind of the same thing when I had to come in and do well at the Senior Bowl and the combine and I did that. Its not over though, I still have to make a name for myself in the NFL.
On what he has learned from family members:
Basically what I learned from them was my work ethic. My dad told me nothing is going to come easy to you and you are going to have to work for it and I have always had that mentality since I was a young kid and that has helped me along with my God given ability to play football.
On what the expectations will be for him in Chicago:
What I have gotten from the coaches is that they want a guy that can come in and compete and hopefully we can both play together, but I dont know what is going to happen. I know they want me to come in and compete and show what I can do and whatever happens, happens.
On being a complete back:
I think it made me attractive a whole lot. Thats what they are looking for and thats what they need, somebody that is not just a first and second down running back, but someone that can stay on the field and pass block or run a route and catch the ball and make a play in the open field and also run the ball and make people miss.
We closed up shop for today. We took a running back as you all know. We like him very much. Again, we did a lot of work on him. He played his whole career through his senior year. We really want to focus on that. We wanted players with good production and obviously we targeted certain positions that we either wanted to upgrade at and/or create more competition. Forte would fall into the later. We want to create more competition at the position. I felt like our running game obviously was one of the weak spots on our football team. He gives us a big back, a three down back. He has enough speed to get to the outside and he has the ability to make people miss at the second level. Those were two areas where we could really never find any consistency which made us an easy team to defend from my perspective. He has very, very good hands and hes a three down back. I think he weighed in at 217 pounds at the combine. He ran a really good forty. I dont necessarily see the play speed on tape as what he ran at the 40, but he did run a very good forty at Indianapolis. Bob Toledo, the head coach there, has been around for a long time in college football just raved about this guy. Sylvester Croom, the head coach at Mississippi State played against him a couple of times and our area scout asked Sly what he thought about him and Sly really recommended him as well. He felt that you had to stop him in order to stop their offense and he was very difficult against a good Southeast Conference football team. Again, we liked the fit. We want to create more competition at the position, a three down back and I think when you get a chance to meet with him, you are going to like the guy as well.
On considering a quarterback:
When we came out of our meetings, we wanted to target a few positions, the offensive line in particular, the tackle and the running back position, we had to look at. The offensive line position was an Achilles heel given that we lost two veterans and only had two under contract with playing experience. The other position was obviously a weak area for a running football team, so I dont want to say it was a position in need. Not that we feel that this guy is going to come in and be the starter, but hes going to create really good competition and he gives us something that we didnt see last year, so in a way it was a position of need as well. That was our goal going into today and certainly we looked at all the quarterbacks. I said this earlier, I wouldnt rule anything out at the quarterback position, but we needed to take care of our needs first. Our philosophy going into the draft was to get players that we could win with at need positions. Thats what we hoped to accomplish and I feel strongly that we did. But again, they have to come in here and do it. We all know that.
On selecting additional offense tomorrow:
I feel that were going to look again on offense. I want to stay on the offensive side of the ball if we can. Im not going to rule out particular defensive players, but we would like to stay on offense tomorrow as well.
On Lance Briggs being summoned to appear in Cook County Court:
Disappointed obviously that hes behind. We got a hold of him the last few days, and he says hes on it. Weve talked to his legal counsel and were going to get more involved in the process to make sure that all the follow-up is done. And Lance assurred us that hes going to take care of it. Hes a little bit behind, but hell get it done and were on it, too.
On if he can serve community service in Arizona for a guilty plea in Illinois:
From my understanding, it does. Hes talked to the judge, his lawyer. As I said, were involved in this. Hes got to do some catch-up and hes got time to do it, but obviously hes got to get on it right now. He understands that, so Im confident that hell take care of his business.
On Minnesota trading up to draft a safety:
I cant answer for them. We liked him very much. Hes a very talented player. Im disappointed in the fact that we will have to see him in our division. But again, he really wasnt a consideration. We needed to take care of those two areas. That was first and foremost. We didnt do much in free agency, we targeted the draft to take care of our needs to create better competition in certain positions. I dont want to say that we are a draft driven team, because we will do anything and find players as we have, from anywhere, but the draft was more important this year for us given what we wanted to do with our finances.
On the outlook for the second day of the draft:
Until I see the finish, I cant say 100 percent. But, so far, pretty good. The two positions that got hit pretty good today that nobody looked at in the first round were the receiver/tight ends and I think those players will probably get pushed down and be the quality if you are looking at best available. Everything else pretty much status quo. The secondary looks like it has a few good players. Overall, I think its going to be pretty good. Again, its matching up needs where you want to create a little bit better depth and competition. There will be good players for that.
On the motivation that Forte might have to perform:
He played in a conference that was very offensively driven. They are very good. Bob Toledo is a very creative coach. I thought he really did a nice job featuring this back. From the I- formation, to the one back, he threw to him, he ran with him obviously for 2,100 yards. How he perceives where he got drafted, I cant answer that, but when you look at all the traits and you look at the kid himself, and again, when you have the chance to visit with him I think you will see what we know. This kid is very passionate about football. His dad played at Tulane. He comes from a great family. Everything about the kid in terms of his make-up, we like the player. How good he can be, that has to be determined by the player, but the traits are very good. We wanted to focus on a three down back. There were some good backs that we talked about, but he seemed to be the one that was the best fit for us.
Offensive line and running back were two of the positions that we had our eye on going into the draft, so its of course a good day for us to be able to fill both of those needs. Matt was very productive at Tulane. Anytime you can rush for that amount of yards. He had an excellent workout at the combine. He had all of the measureables. His forty time and things like that of course were all good. The more and more research we did off the football field, it was the same thing. He was the guy that we wanted in our program. We feel really good about him getting into the mix at the running back position. We have some other players there. We just added a bit more fire power to our offensive team. It felt like we did that. We are feeling pretty good about our first two picks.
On considering drafting a quarterback in the second round:
We were of course familiar with the guys available at that pick, but this is the direction we wanted to go. Waking up this morning, if I had known then that we would have been able to pick these two players, it would be a pretty good day.
On Minnesota trading up for Tyrell Johnson:
Hes a good football player. We werent going in that direction, but they got a very good football player. Good speed. Good range. He had an outstanding combine. There were multiple teams in our division that got good players today.
On Matt Forte doing anything differently than the running backs currently on our roster:
I cant say differently. Ill tell you what he can do. He has excellent speed. He has good size. He can make you miss. All of the things you look for in a good running back, he has.
On confidence in RB Cedric Benson:
It doesnt say anything about Cedric, or Adrian or Garrett Wolfe. We had a chance to improve our ball club at the running back position. We always try to do that. We want to add as many good football players to our team as we can. Were lucky to have the best 53 players on our roster and adding a player like Matt makes us run better.