- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Forte -- the Bears' 2008 second-round draft choice -- is entering the final year of a rookie contract that calls for the multi-purpose back to earn $550,000 in 2011. That's a low figure when you take into account Forte eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark twice in three years. He ran for 929 yards in an injury plagued 2009 campaign, and he fueled the Bears' offensive resurgence this season following the bye week with a 4.5 yards-per-carry average.
"It would be nice [to get the contract done]," Forte told ESPNChicago.com Monday at the Super Bowl XLV media center. "It's always nice to have something like that happen. It's really up to my agent [Adisa Bakari] and the Bears to negotiate it. I just want to stay informed with what they're talking about. Hopefully it's all good things.
"I love playing for the Bears, and I think it's a great organization and I just want to continue to succeed and play well for them.
Forte, a native of Lake Charles, La., put up 294 all-purpose yards in the postseason, including a 10-catch performance versus Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.
"Of course [this is where I want to keep playing]," Forte said. "I've gotten used to the cold weather, so I think I'm good now."
One factor that could complicate talks between Forte and the Bears is the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and players union.
"I'm watching it real close," Forte said. "This is the future of the NFL. There might be a lot of changes, or there might not be a lot of changes. I just want to see, once they get the deal done, what they negotiate. Hopefully it doesn't come to a work stoppage or not playing. Hopefully the best comes out of this."
After a promising rookie season, Forte was derailed by a variety of injuries the following year. That noticeable drop in productivity led many to question whether Forte was a one-year wonder. Even the Bears appeared to have doubts, and general manager Jerry Angelo signed veteran free agent Chester Taylor to a four-year contract valued at $12.5 million. Taylor collected $7 million in the first year of the deal.
"My second year in the league I had a hamstring injury and a knee injury, and as a whole team, we really weren't doing anything [the Bears finished 7-9]," Forte said. "So it's easy to point fingers. A lot of guys in the media like to point people out or single a guy out instead of the whole team. We win as a team, we lose as a team. Even though  wasn't as good as my rookie year, or as a lot of people say it was a down year, I still had 1,400 [all-purpose] yards. That's pretty good to me, especially being injured."
Despite the hefty pay day, Taylor's numbers paled in comparison to Forte's. Taylor rushed for 267 yards in the regular season and averaged 2.4 yards per attempt. That disparity created a debate in Chicago regarding both Taylor's importance to the offense, and the veteran's impact on Forte.
"He was a great addition," Forte said. "You can't look at the numbers. If you looked at the numbers, it would say the opposite. Well, he didn't average all that much per carry, this and that. But what he brought to the table, what I didn't have before, is that when I'm in the middle of a game -- in let's say the second quarter -- and I've got close to ten carries, he can go in and there's no drop off. He knows the protections, he knows he can catch the ball out of the backfield and run the ball. He can go in and I can get rest, so in the third and fourth quarter, we can make that run and grind them out in the running game.
"I think he was a key to the success of the offense this year, even though he was in the shadows of the receivers, or me, or even [quarterback] Jay Cutler. He comes in, works hard and does his job."
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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