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Matt Forte plans to play in the Pro Bowl

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 running back Matt Forte didn’t have a chance to showcase his talents late in the regular season, or in the postseason, due to an MCL sprain that kept him from playing in the final four games of the Bears’ disappointing 8-8 campaign.

But Forte is eligible for one more game. Unlike pretty much every other guy who has ever qualified for the Pro Bowl while injured in even the slightest degree, Forte won’t use his knee injury as a way to duck the opportunity.

“I think anybody who makes the Pro Bowl their first time would like to go out there and play,” Forte said Monday, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I was concerned about not being able to play in it, being that it was my first time. But it all worked out.”

Forte plans to pass a physical in roughly three weeks, and then to play in the late-January all-star exhibition in Honolulu.

It’s a calculated risk-reward for Forte. He could re-injure the knee, or suffer some other injury that would harm his value on the open market. Or he could have the kind of performance that could persuade teams to make a run for him in free agency.

Unfortunately for Forte, the Bears can still choose to retain his services via the franchise tag. With a new General Manager in the offing, it’s unknown whether and to what extent the Bears will try to retain Forte. For now, team president Ted Phillips says that the Bears would like to keep Forte “for the long term.”