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Bears continue 'optimistic' negotiations with RB Forte

The Chicago Bears are "optimistic" about reaching a long-term extension with running back Matt Forte, a 2008 second-round draft pick who intially threatened a holdout entering the final year of his rookie contract.

"We do try to reward our players and we've had a pretty good track record for doing that and we want to do that with Matt for one reason: He's earned that," general manager Jerry Angelo said Thursday on WSCR-AM. "Matt's shown to be a core player on our football team and we want to extend Matt.

"We want to make Matt a Bear for a long time. We're motivated to do that. Hopefully, we'll get that done here sooner rather than later. But again, this is a different time. The cap is different. People are adjusting to a new landscape because of the new CBA that was bargained, so it will be a little bit more of a challenge. I don't think when you look collectively around the league you see a lot of activity going on with extensions at this time.

"We're optimistic through this whole process, but we want to stay focused on the season and we also want to do the right thing by Matt. But again, we'll just see how things play out."

Forte is due $550,000 in the final year of his rookie contract. His backup, Chester Taylor, is scheduled to make $1.25 million after pulling in $7 million last season while totaling 267 yards and averaging 2.4 yards per carry. Forte finished with 1,069 yards and 4.5 yards per carry.

Forte ranks fifth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (4,731) since 2008. And he is the only player in Bears history with 1,400-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first three seasons.

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