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Matt Forte threatens to sit out Bears training camp

Matt Forte's contract situation with the Chicago Bears remains a prickly thorn in the side of a team with high hopes for 2012. Forte twisted that thorn Friday night.

The Bears running back told WSCR-AM in Chicago he likely will skip training camp without a long-term deal from the team.

This came hours after Forte told NFL Network's Kimberly Jones he was uncertain about his status for camp, but wouldn't sit out the 2012 season.

Forte is not interested in signing his franchise tag, which would net him $7.7 million. He remains "optimistic" as the sides continue to dialogue, but admits the ongoing tussle has affected him.

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"You can't let it get too personal," he told the radio station. "I mean, it's always personal when you are dealing with the business side of the league because they are talking about you as a person. 

"When you are an athlete and you've done everything that you've been asked to do and you've excelled out there on the field, and then you go out in the media and you see there is stuff written about you how they are devaluing you as a player at your position and saying that you are not as good as what you think you are or what the stats say -- I mean, the stats can't lie. If you have good stats and you are playing good, obviously you are a good player. So it gets personal when you are devalued like that."

If Forte has grown weary of the media chatter, he can't deny the league-wide perception shift at running back.

It's no surprise he's threatening to skip camp, but Forte also maintains he won't miss a regular-season snap. That's a mixed message to put out there publicly when the Bears have shown zero urgency to furnish a contract. Instead, they brought in Michael Bush, only chipping away at Forte's leverage. 

One of the league's longest-running contract dramas might not end happily in Chicago, at least not for Forte.

UPDATE: Forte wasn't entirely pleased about Jay Cutler's take on his possible holdout when the Bears quarterback recently said he would be "shocked" if Forte didn't sign his tender and report to camp on time.

"It kind of looks bad when other people speak for you," Forte told the Chicago Sun-Times. "(Cutler) doesn’t really know what’s going to happen. He’s not in the negotiations. He’s just being optimistic. He wants me there, I want to be there. But it’s just a matter of what happens in the next couple of weeks.”

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