Teammates continue to believe that Matt Forte will be in a Bears uniform this season and there has never been any question that the running back wants to be there as well.
Forte took his own beliefs public on Wednesday, telling the NFL Network that he hopes for exactly the same thing and that he is not demanding to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
"All my teammates know I'm going to be there for them and give them the best in my heart out there on the field," Forte said. "I just want to be given a contract where I rank among some of the top running backs...
"Not the top paid or anything like that. I just want to be recognized as one of the best."
The 7.7 million he will receive for one year under the franchise tag would rank him among those top backs but only for 2012. And while the tag price is guaranteed, it would not be close to the guarantees received by the likes of LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia, DeAngelo Williams from Carolina or others.
Forte and Ray Rice, under the Baltimore Ravens franchise tag, are both consensus top running backs in the NFL but whether either receives a long-term deal remains problematic.
Rules allow negotiations to continue only until July 16, after which the players only option -- for playing -- is the one-year deal.
His other option is to hold out. But the Bears signed Michael Bush as starter-grade depth and added Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery to muscle up a passing offense.
Overall, it is a basic business disagreement over value but that does not make it any easier on Forte.
"It's unfortunate that the organization (can) treat it as a business, Forte said, and when the player does he gets frowned upon...
"You have to make due with what's best for you and your family."
High School Lites is back with an exciting Week 9 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.
DRIVE: Batavia (episode 9)
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oak Forest football
VIEWERS' CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Fremd runs past Schaumburg
WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame running back Ty Gavin
FRIDAY'S TOP 25 SCORES
(1) Lincoln-Way East 31, (16) Bolingbrook 0
(2) Batavia 24, Wheaton North 13
(3) Brother Rice 31, (17) Montini 0
(4) Marist 24, Benet 7
(6) Homewood-Flossmoor 56, Sandburg 0
(7) Cary-Grove 55, (15) Naperville Central 41
(9) Nazareth Academy 42, Marian Catholic 6
(10) Maine South 48, Niles West 6
(11) Oswego 22, Plainfield South 15
(12) Richards 41, Eisenhower 6
(13) Phillips 41, Raby 0
(14) Willowbrook 42, Downers South 20
(18) Oak Park-River Forest 48, Lyons 0
(19) Warren 43, Mundelein 7
(20) Glenbard West 35, Proviso West 6
(21) Hillcrest 43, Bremen 6
Joliet Catholic 33, (22) Notre Dame 17
(23) Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12
(24) Rolling Meadows 34, Buffalo Grove 7
Wheaton Warrenville South 13, (25) St. Charles North 11
Payton 43, Kenwood 42
Coal City 43, Lisle 14
Huntley 55, Dundee-Crown 12
Perspectives 32, Solorio 16
SATURDAY'S TOP 25 GAMES
Fenwick vs. (5) Mount Carmel
(8) Simeon vs. Curie
Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.
0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.
11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?
23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.