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Bears bolster backfield, agree to terms with ex-Raiders RB Bush

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Michael Bush is joining the Chicago Bears, perhaps to team with Matt Forte and give the team two hard and effective runners who can alternate punishing defense.

Or maybe in a more visible role should Forte hold out after he earlier was slapped with the franchise tag.

The Bears announced Thursday they had signed Bush to a four-year contract. The team did not disclose financial terms, but a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the receiver will get a total of $14 million, with $7 million guaranteed.

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Bush played four seasons for the Oakland Raiders, gaining 2,642 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and scoring 21 touchdowns. The powerful 245-pound back had his most productive season in 2011, setting career highs in rushes (256), yards (977), touchdowns (7), receptions (37) and yards receiving (418). He mostly was a backup to Darren McFadden but had nine starts last season when McFadden was injured.

"I was told that the rotation will be very good," Bush said in a conference call after signing a four-year deal the Chicago Tribune reported was worth $14 million, with $7 million guaranteed. "I think there are enough carries to go around."

Forte, who sprained his knee in early December and missed the final month of the season but went to the Pro Bowl, has not been able to get a long-term deal from the Bears. He was given the franchise tag, meaning he will make $7.742 million next season if there is no new contract reached.

Forte went to Twitter to express his opinion of the signing of Bush, saying he had been "disrespected."

"There's only so many times a man that has done everything he's been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last," his post read.

Forte finished 2011 with 1,487 yards from scrimmage and 997 rushing in his fourth season. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He was the first Chicago running back to make it to the Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson following the 1991 season.

Bush said he can relate to how Forte feels.

"It's just one of those things where you want to be rewarded for your success. I understand, but that has nothing to do with me," he said. "My job is to come here and play ball. If he wants to hold out, I know what he's going through. I'm just going to be there doing what I'm supposed to do."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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