Matt Forte considers himself a top NFL running back. His peers agree--to a point.
And Forte thinks that without the knee injury that cost him the better part of five games last season, he might have been rated one of the top 10 players in the NFL.
I feel like maybe if I would have made it through the season I might have been top 10 on the top 100 players list, Forte said.
Forte broke into NFL Networks Top 100 Players this week, slotted at No. 33 in player voting, which happened to put him ahead of Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (38) and St. Louis running back Steven Jackson (37) in the most recent group unveiled.
Im very honored to be on the list this year, Forte said on NFL Network. Im glad I made it. Last year I felt a little snubbed; I felt like I should have made it. Im glad I just made it this year.
His immediate concern is working through his contract situation with the Bears. But a question here is how much he lost in the games he was injured, which stopped him just short of 1,000 yards in roughly two-thirds of a season.
Forte may be pleased that he made the list, but he cannot be especially pleased about there being six other running backs to come in the Top 100.
Are there six backs better than Forte?
Definitely not, Forte said. I love to compete and I train hard and work hard so that I can be considered amongst the top running backs. For six guys to be ahead of me, I dont know about that.
Forte is the fourth Bear on the list, joining Lance Briggs (72), Brian Urlacher (51) and Devin Hester (48). That number will increase.
Julius Peppers was No. 10 last year. Brandon Marshall was No. 61.
Jay Cutler wasnt on the 2011 list, which included 12 quarterbacks. His performance had the Bears at 7-3 when he broke his right thumb, but to make the list at this point would mean being voted by his peers ahead of Eli Manning (31) and Cam Newton (40) among the nine QBs already on the list.