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Bears say their offer to Matt Forte is strong, they want him to sign it

Bears running back Forte is chased by the Detroit Lions in the second half of their NFL football game in Chicago

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) is chased by the Detroit Lions’ DeAndre Levy (54), Amari Spievey (42), Stephen Tulloch (55) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (93) in the second half of their NFL football game in Chicago, Illinois, November 13, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


Bears coach Lovie Smith has said he’s confident things will turn out just fine with disgruntled running back Matt Forte, and now Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips is chiming in, saying the Bears have already made Forte a strong offer.

Days after Forte complained bitterly that the Bears signed free agent running back Michael Bush but haven’t taken care of the running back they already have yet, Phillips told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that the Bears like Forte and want him to stay in Chicago.

“I think not only do we appreciate him and have told him so, but I think the offer we’ve made him shows that, too. Now, different people can disagree on the ultimate value,” Phillips said. “But we feel we’ve made a strong offer to him, and are still hopeful he accepts it.”

Phillips indicated that the Bears have already given Forte the offer they think is fair, and now it’s time for Forte to come around.

“Matt Forte is our No. 1 running back. He’s been told that, and he knows that. We all know that. He’s going to be a Bear for 2012, at least,” Phillips said. “He knows he has a long-term offer on the table, and we hope, at some point and time, he chooses to accept that.”

Forte, however, doesn’t seem inclined to accept what the Bears are offering. This is a contract dispute that could last several months.