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Lovie Smith on Matt Forte: “It’s going to work out fine”

Bears running back Forte is brought down by Chargers' Gregory in the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (R) is brought down by San Diego Chargers’ Steve Gregory (L) in the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago, Illinois, November 20, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

REUTERS

Bears running back Matt Forte was already unhappy with his contract last season, then grew more unhappy when the Bears slapped the franchise tag on him, and then reached a boiling point when the Bears signed running back Michael Bush. But Bears coach Lovie Smith says Forte will be a happy camper by the time the season starts.

Smith told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he has spoken to Forte since the Bush signing and that he’s confident Forte will be a productive member of the Bears’ offense this season.

We love him, he’s going to rush for a lot of yards for us,” Smith said. “It’s going to work out fine.”

But Forte hasn’t felt the love yet. Before he was hurt last year he was one of the best running backs in the NFL, and he wants to get paid like one of the best running backs in the NFL. So far the Bears haven’t seem inclined to do that.

And the reality is the Bears don’t have to do that. Smith’s feeling that it’s going to work out fine may stem from the twin realities in the NFL that franchise players just don’t have a lot of leverage, and that teams just don’t seem interested in offering big contracts to running backs. Smith is probably right that it’s going to work out fine from the Bears’ perspective. It seems less likely that Forte will be fine with whatever he ends up making this season.