Courtesy of USA Today Sports

Chicago Bears’ running back Matt Forte has been absent thus far from voluntary workouts with his team this offseason. This is something that many are perceiving as disgruntlement on Forte’s behalf regarding his current contract.

Forte is entering the final year of a four-year, $30.4 million deal he signed back in 2012. However, Forte claims his absence is not due to him being upset about his contract.

It’s time to set the record straight. If the Bears want to give me a contract ext. they will; if they don’t they won’t. I’m not mad or holding a grudge. I don’t operate like that.

Forte did say that he plans to participate in OTA’s and the team’s mandatory minicamp. However, he was not in attendance to receive recognition for winning the Brian Piccolo Award, which is given to one veteran and one rookie each year to thank the players for their loyalty, courage and dedication to the team. Forte’s absence was also downplayed by the Bears’ owner George McCaskey (via the Chicago Tribune).

To me, it’s like the guys deciding not to go to the draft. That’s an intensely personal decision and I think that decision should be respected.

McCaskey also said that he’s leaving Forte’s contract situation for general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox to deal with. Forte will turn 30 in December and there could be hesitation on the Bears’ side to give him a lengthy extension at this point in his career.

One of the most underrated running backs in the league, Forte has been a huge asset to the Bears over the past seven seasons, combining for a total of 11,431 yards and 57 touchdowns during that span.

If the Bears do not take care of Forte after this season, there could certainly be other teams who might be interested in the running back.

Photo: USA Today Sports