As the final whistle blew and the Bears and Lions converged at the center of Soldier Field, only one player took off in the opposite direction.
Matt Forte jogged toward the south endzone to briefly thank fans for all their support over the years.
Forte - being the class act that he is - still made sure he had enough time to hustle back to the middle of the field to slap hands with his opponents.
Facing an uncertain future, Forte knows this might have been his last game with the Bears.
"I was just kind of thanking the fans," Forte said after the Bears' 24-20 loss. "I wasn't able to get everybody, but I was able to slap a few hands and say 'thank you' or whatever just because if it this was the last game that I play in Soldier Field, I didn't want to leave without showing the fans that I appreciate them in person."
Forte said it was just another day of football for him and refused to acknowledge that his fourth-quarter touchdown carried any special significance.
But the eight-year veteran also admitted he spent some time just taking in the surroundings as he walked back to the huddle or stood on the sidelines.
If this is the end, the Bears sent Forte out right, despite the loss. They handed him 17 carries - his highest workload since Week 13 - and targeted him three times in the passing game.
In the locker room after the contest, Bears players and coaches gushed about Forte with a slew of overwhelming and emotional responses:
"It will be sad if we lose him. He's been here my entire career - an unbelievable teammate, unbelievable friend, a true professional in every sense of the word, on and off the field. It would be weird not having him, that's for sure. He gave a lot to this team and this city and he's still got some stuff left in the tank."
"I appreciate him and have great respect for him and everything he gave us this season. ... He is a pro. I think he's been that for a long time before I got here. I got to witness it day-in and day-out, good times and bad times. He was a captain and he led a young group. I think a big part of their improvement was Matt Forte."
"It's incredible. I was thinking about it as he was walking off the field as he was surrounded by people, 'I'm going to tell my kids about this guy; I'm going to tell my grandkids about this guy,' if they don't already know because he's going to be everywhere. He's a legend. He's somebody who should be in the same conversation with the greats. He's the best player I've ever played with."
"He's a legend, to me. I love him, man. As amazing of a football player he is, he's an even better guy. Anybody that's been around him for any amount of time can tell you that. To be able to suit up next to that guy and battle with him and just go to war with him every week, that was an honor for me. He's such a stud. I don't know if this is his last game as a Bear, but if it was, man, he's put on a show for a lot of years and it was nothing but an honor to play with him for a year-and-a-half."
"It's hard to explain how much I've learned from him. I've learned a lot on how to be a professional, how to compete every game - in it or not - and how to finish, just like he did [Sunday]. I think he had a great game. I just wish the results were different. It felt good seeing [him get in the endzone], especially for us as a team, since it's been hard for us to score down in the red zone. To see him score really just put us in a position to win the game. It was fun to watch."
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Forte didn't spend much time getting emotional in what may be his final postgame presser with the Chicago media, but he spoke with feeling when asked how he feels about his teammates' respect for him and hearing some of their comments.
"It means a lot," Forte said. "That's what you play the game for. You play the game to earn the respect from your opponents and also your peers, which are your teammates.
"For them to say that, reassures that you've been doing a good job and have been a hard worker during your career. So, I feel like I've been doing the right thing, and if I continue to do that, I'll be in a good place when I finish playing football."