The last decade for the Chicago Bears hasn't been too kind. Seven of the last 10 seasons ended with a .500 record or worse, and if it wasn't for 2010 (when Chicago earned a trip to the NFC Championship) and the remarkable 2018 season that ended with a 12-4 record and an NFC North crown, it would essentially be a decade to forget.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been players worth remembering. One, in particular, stands above the rest: Matt Forte.
Forte ended his Bears career second all-time on the team's rushing yards list (8,602), fourth in rushing touchdowns (45), second in career receptions (487) and seventh in receiving yards (4,116). Needless to say, he made his mark.
According to ESPN, Forte was Chicago's best player of the 2010s.
Forte gets the nod, in part, because he played more of the last decade in Chicago than most of the team's other top players. Brian Urlacher, for example, retired in 2012. Forte's stint with the Bears lasted through 2015.
Take your pick: Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Brandon Marshall or Julius Peppers. Heck, Jay Cutler even deserves some recognition for being the starting quarterback for so long (2009-16). Forte earned the nod over Urlacher, Briggs and Tillman because they did the majority of their damage the previous decade. Marshall and Peppers didn't play in Chicago long enough to unseat Forte. And Cutler is Cutler. You know what I mean.
This exercise -- picking the Bears' best player of the last decade -- helps explain why the 2010s weren't all that memorable. It was an era that marked the end of the Urlacher-Briggs-Tillman teams and will be best remembered for a shoulder-shrugging quarterback who was a career underachiever. And when that's a team's most noteworthy storyline? Sure, hard-working and productive players like Forte are remembered fondly.
Ultimately, ESPN created an NFC North All-2010s team, and while Forte was the Bears' best player, he didn't qualify for the running back spot. Instead, that went to Vikings stud, Adrian Peterson.
Kyle Long, meanwhile, was the pick at left guard.
Other Bears who made ESPN's cut were Briggs, Tillman, Julius Peppers and Jared Allen.