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Matt Forte: Contract situation is a distraction

Bears' running back Forte celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter of their NFL football game against Panthers in Chicago

Chicago Bears’ running back Matt Forte celebrates a touchdown during the second quarter of their NFL football game against Carolina Panthers in Chicago, October 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


The Bears finally rediscovered their running game on Sunday, giving the ball to Matt Forte 25 times and watching him scamper for 205 yards in their 34-29 win over the Panthers.

That was a welcome change for a team that had become overly reliant on the pass despite a leaky offensive line and sketchy receiving corps. That’s not the only change that Forte would like to see, however. He wants a new contract from the team, but talks have ceased on that front and Forte admitted in an appearance on ESPN 100 Radio’s “Waddle and Silvy Show” Monday that the lack of progress on that front has become a distraction.

“It’s always going to be a distraction because I’m not a robot; I’m human,” Forte said. “I try to put it out of my mind sometimes. I go out every day on the practice or game field I’m focused on playing football, I’m not worried about that. But it is a distraction sometimes and you can’t help but think about it a lot.”

Forte, whose contract runs out after this season, also repeated an earlier assertion that the Bears don’t consider him to be an elite running back. Definitions of elite will vary, but Forte is averaging more total yards per game than any other back in the league through four weeks and he’s been the team’s most productive pass catcher in addition to his work on the ground. Elite or not, he’s a productive player and wants to be treated as such.

“I don’t want to be the guy that holds grudges but it always sticks in the back of your mind, things like that. It’s the ugly side of the business. The NFL is a business, and that’s the ugly side of it. I just want to be somewhere I’m valued as a player.”