There aren’t many walks of life when someone who is 28 is considered aging, but that’s the case for running backs in the NFL.
The much-feared 30th birthday isn’t too far away and any potential sign of slippage becomes a reason to worry that a back has hit the wall that separates the productive phase of their career from the final grinding years before retirement. Bears running back Matt Forte turns 29 in December and hopes to change some of the notions that we have about running backs that age during the 2014 season.
“I want to break the stereotype of old running backs going downhill,” Forte said, via the Chicago Tribune. “This offseason I feel better than I have the past five or six offseasons. I got my rest and I know how to take care of my body now. Yeah, it is going to be harder and harder every year, but as long as you continue to have your set routine and stick to it, and a lot of prayer too, that helps a lot. Health is the main deal.”
Health helped Forte stay on the field most of the time last season on his way to career highs in rushing yards and receptions and a third-place finish in total yards from scrimmage. It’s a strong argument against the start of the decline phase of his career, but it was also the most touches in the league and the cumulative effect of those touches could impact Forte this season. They’ll look to rookie Ka’Deem Carey to take some of those touches this season in hopes of keeping Forte fresh, but more production like 2013 will make it hard to keep Forte from showing that 28 is the new 25.