The Matt Forte era in Chicago has come to an end.
With less than a month until the start of the NFL free agent signing period, Forte announced that the Bears will not be re-signing him.
The Bears released a statement regarding Forte later Friday morning.
“We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 12, 2016
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Forte was originally selected by the Bears out of Tulane University in the second round (44th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte rushed for 8,602 yards with 45 touchdowns. Forte has been one of the NFL's best multi-purpose running backs throughout his career as evident by his 487 receptions, 4,116 receiving yards and 19 scores. Forte broke the NFL's record for receptions from a running back with 102 catches in 2014.
Forte ranks second in franchise history in yards from scrimmage (12,718), rushing yards, receptions, 100-yard rushing games (24) and games with 150 yards or more form scrimmage (25), trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton. Forte is one of five players in NFL history to have 1,200-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first eight seasons, joining Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Watters.
Among the accolades Forte garnered with the Bears: two Pro Bowl selections (2012 and 2013), two-time recipient of the Bears' Brian Piccolo Award (2008 and 2014), Chicago's Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee (2015) and one eight finalists for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award (2015).
The 30-year-old Forte joins Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Chris Ivory (New York Jets) and Lamar Miller (Miami Dolphins) as one of the top running backs on the free agent market this offseason.