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Bears CEO Phillips hopeful Forte will take 'strong offer'

  • By NFL.com
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Matt Forte has a contract offer from the Chicago Bears. Now he's left to decide if the deal on the table is sufficient.

Forte, whom the team used its franchise tag on earlier this offseason, was given what Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips called a "strong offer" despite friction after Chicago signed Michael Bush, one of the top free-agent running backs.

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"I think not only do we appreciate him and have told him so, but I think the offer we've made him shows that, too," Phillips said Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Now, different people can disagree on the ultimate value. But we feel we've made a strong offer to him and are still hopeful he accepts it."

Forte said Thursday on Twitter that the organization had "disrespected" him with Bush's signing. Bears coach Lovie Smith tried to quiet concerns by saying everything between the sides would "work out fine."

Phillips echoed Smith's comments, saying Bush wasn't brought in to replace Forte.

"Matt Forte is our No. 1 running back," Phillips said. "He's been told that, and he knows that. We all know that. He's going to be a Bear for 2012, at least. He knows he has a long-term offer on the table, and we hope, at some point and time, he chooses to accept that."

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