Bears running back Matt Forte said last month that he thinks he deserves a new contract, but he wouldn’t hold out from training camp if he didn’t get one.
Forte is making no such promises about the preseason.
“I’ve considered not playing in the preseason games,” Forte told the Chicago Tribune.
Forte’s point of view is simple: If the Bears aren’t willing to give him a long-term contract extension, he doesn’t want to risk a serious injury in a meaningless exhibition game. He’s not saying he absolutely refuses to play in the preseason, but he’s at least considering it.
And Forte especially doesn’t want to play preseason games at Soldier Field, where the poor quality of the surface is such an injury risk that the team canceled its public practice there on Friday.
“Any time the field is not good enough to practice on that is a concern,” Forte said.
You can’t blame Forte for not wanting to risk his health in an exhibition game. You can’t blame any NFL player for not wanting to risk his health in an exhibition game. But it will be interesting to see whether Forte feels strongly enough about skipping the preseason that he simply refuses to play, and if so how the Bears will react.
Forte and the Bears have both said they expect to get something worked out, but this is a situation worth keeping an eye on.