CHICAGO: Matt Forte will not return to the Chicago Bears next season, the club and player announced on Saturday, ending the tenure of the second-most prolific rusher in the team’s 95-year history.
Since joining the Bears in 2008, Forte leads the NFL with 12,718 total yards from scrimmage. He ranks fourth in rushing over that span with 8,602 yards and tops all running backs with 487 catches for 4,116 receiving yards.
“These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season.”
Forte, who made $7 million last season, has 64 career touchdowns. The 30-year-old led the Bears in 2015 with 898 rushing yards on 218 carries and caught 44 passes for 389 yards while scoring seven total touchdowns despite missing three games with a knee injury.
“Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end,” Forte wrote on Instagram. “I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency.
“I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I’m excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!”
The only rusher in Bears history with more yards is Hall of Famer Walter Payton and Marshall Faulk is the only player in NFL history to compile 8,000 rushing yards and 4,000 reception yards faster than Forte.