Matt Forte

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Matt Forte
refer to caption
Forte with the Chicago Bears in 2008
No. 22
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1985-12-10) December 10, 1985 (age 32)
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school: Slidell (LA)
College: Tulane
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 2 / Pick: 44
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards: 9,796
Yards per carry: 4.2
Rushing touchdowns: 54
Receptions: 554
Receiving yards: 4,672
Receiving touchdowns: 21
Player stats at NFL.com

Matthew Garrett Forte (born December 10, 1985) is a former American football running back who played ten seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Tulane and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Forte established himself as a dual-threat running back who is capable of earning yards as a rusher and receiver. He spent eight years with the Bears before playing for the New York Jets for two seasons.[1]

Early years[edit]

Forte grew up in Slidell, Louisiana, and graduated from Slidell High School in 2004, where he was a letterman in football and track & field.[2] As a junior, he rushed for 1,057 rushing yards with 8 touchdowns, and caught 30 passes for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns. As a senior, he was named the St. Tammany Parish Player of the Year, District 5-5A Offensive MVP and received All-Metro selection accolades, as he gained 1,375 yards with 23 touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 253 yards and a pair of scores. He totaled 2,432 rushing yards and 31 in his career while also catching 48 passes for 618 yards and five scores.[3]

Also a standout sprinter, Forte competed in track and had some of the better 100m and 200m times in the New Orleans area in 2003, with personal-bests of 10.68 seconds in the 100 meters and 22.10 seconds in the 200 meters.[4]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Matt Forte
Running back
Slidell, Louisiana Slidell High School 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 4.5 Dec 15, 2003 
Recruiting star ratings: ScoutN/A   Rivals:2/5 stars   247SportsN/A
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

College career[edit]

Forte played NCAA Division I college football at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, a member of Conference USA.[5] He lettered for four years and played for three while pursuing a degree in finance. As a freshman, he had 624 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to go along with 20 receptions for 180 yards and two receiving touchdowns.[6] As a sophomore, he had 655 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to go along with 23 receptions for 163 yards and one receiving touchdown.[7] His junior year was cut short when he suffered an injury in the game against Marshall University. He finished his junior season with 859 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns to go along with 28 receptions for 360 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.[8] His standout season was his senior year, coming off a knee injury, Forte set several Tulane school records, including rushing for 2,127 yards and 23 touchdowns.[9] He had five 200+ yard rushing games, two 300+ yard games, and three games with at least four rushing touchdowns during the 2007 season.[10][11][12][13][14][15] Forte was the only BCS non-AQ conference athlete to be a semifinalist for both the Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards and to make the Walter Camp Player of the Year List, and one of just 3 players nationally to be named to all three lists.

Forte garnered the most attention at the 2008 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and walked away with the Overall MVP award.[16] He led with 59 yards rushing on 8 carries; 4 receptions for 38 yards and a tackle on special teams.

Awards and honors[edit]

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 1 38 in
(1.86 m)
217 lb
(98 kg)
4.44 s 1.49 s 2.55 s 4.23 s 6.84 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 10 in
(3.00 m)
23 reps
All values from the 2008 NFL Combine[17]

Chicago Bears[edit]

2008 season[edit]

The Chicago Bears drafted Forte in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft as the 44th overall selection, the 6th of 23 running backs.[18] He was originally drafted to compete with Cedric Benson for the team's starting running back position. However, Benson was released from the Bears after legal complications, and Forte out-competed Adrian Peterson and second-year running back Garrett Wolfe and started all 16 games. In the regular season debut on September 7, 2008 against Indianapolis, he carried the ball 23 times for 123 yards (setting a franchise record for most debut rushing yards) and scored his first career touchdown on a 50-yard run en route to a 29-13 victory over the Colts.[19] His efforts earned him Sunday Night Football’s “Horse Trailer Player of the Game” award.

Forte takes a handoff from Kyle Orton while playing against the Carolina Panthers in September 2008

He had two more 100+ yard rushing games on the season, and in Game 12 became the first Bears rookie to rush for over 1,000 yards since Anthony Thomas in 2001.[20] He would finish with franchise rookie records of 316 rush attempts for 1,238 yards (the latter since broken by Jordan Howard in 2016).[21] His 1,715 yards from scrimmage was third in the NFL, and broke Hall of Famer Gale Sayers's team record of 1,374 in 1965.[22][23] Forte led all rookie running backs in total yards and receptions,[24] those 61 receptions also breaking Mike Ditka's 1961 franchise rookie record.[25] He received one vote for the National Football League Rookie of the Year Award, finishing behind Ryan Clady, Chris Johnson, and Matt Ryan.[26]

2009 season[edit]

Forte attempts to escape from San Francisco 49ers safety Michael Lewis in a 2009 meeting

Forte recorded just 150 total yards over the first three games of the season,[20] before his first big game in Week 4 against the Lions, during which he rushed for 121 yards and scored his first touchdown.[27] He averaged 50.6 yards per game over the next 11 games with just three touchdowns, before a 101-yard finale against Detroit.[20] His 929 rushing yards was 18th in the league,[28] down from 7th his rookie season.

2010 season[edit]

In a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, Forte ran for an 89-yard touchdown, which would have been the longest run in Bears history if it had occurred during a regular season game.[29] In Week 1 of the 2010 season, Forte had a career-best 151 receiving yards including two touchdowns, one of 89 and a game-winning 28 yarder; he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[30][31] In Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers, Forte had touchdown runs of 18 and 68 yards, the latter a career long, on the way to 166 total rushing yards on the day.[32] Forte was named FedEx Ground Player of the Week for this week. In Week 11 at Miami, the season's first Thursday Night Football game, Forte rushed for 97 yards on 25 carries and scored the game's only touchdown on a 2-yard run in the 4th quarter as the Bears shutout the Dolphins, 16-0.[33] Over the last seven games of the season, Forte had 90+ rushing yards in five of them.[20] His 1,616 yards from scrimmage was 10th in the NFL.[34]

The Chicago Bears finished with an 11–5 record and made the playoffs.[35][36] In the playoffs, Forte recorded 80 yards rushing and 54 yards receiving in a victory over the Seattle Seahawks, and became the only player in Bears post-season history with 10+ receptions in a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship.[37][38][39]

2011 season[edit]

Forte began the season primarily as a receiver. He recorded 68, 49, and 2 yards rushing in his first three games; but 90, 117, and 80 yards receiving.[20] This changed in Week 4, when Forte rushed for a career-high 205 yards and one touchdown against the Carolina Panthers, starting a stretch of four 100+ yard rushing performances over the next five games.[40][41][42][43] Through nine games, Forte lead the Bears in rush attempts, rush yards, receptions, and receiving yards;[44] and through Week 8 led the NFL in yards from scrimmage.[45] In Game 8 against the Eagles, Forte joined Herschel Walker as the only players with 700 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in their first four seasons, and became the only player with 900 yards rushing and 400 yard receiving.[46] After three less productive games,[20] Forte sprained his MCL in a loss to the Chiefs, ending his season with 997 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns, 490 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.[47][48] However, he was placed on the NFC squad for the 2012 Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, making him the first Bear running back to be named to the Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson in 1991.[49][50]

Forte during training camp in 2009

2012 season[edit]

On March 2, 2012, Forte was given the franchise tag by the Bears, worth $7.74 million.[51][52] However, Forte expressed his frustration and refused to sign the tender, which eventually led to the Bears signing Michael Bush.[53][54] Forte then held out for a long-term contract,[55] skipping the organized team activity (OTA) workouts,[56] before finally agreeing to a four-year, $32 million deal.[52] In Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, Forte sustained an ankle injury when he was tackled by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson,[57] originally reported as a dangerous "high ankle sprain"[58] but later down-graded[59] and he only missed one game.[57][60] On the season, he had three 100+ yard rushing performances, but one game with 50+ yards receiving.[61] Forte ended the year with a career-low 44 receptions for 340 yards,[62] and slipped from the top 10 in yards from scrimmage.[63]

2013 season[edit]

In Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Forte had a 55-yard run, and the following week against the Detroit Lions, had a 53-yard run, making him the first Bears running back to record runs of 50+ yards in back-to-back games since Raymont Harris in 1997.[64][65][66] Two weeks later against the New Orleans Saints, Forte passed Rick Casares for third in the all-time leading rusher list with 5,702 career yards, behind Walter Payton and Neal Anderson.[67] In Week 7 against the Washington Redskins, Forte scored three rushing touchdowns.[68] Against the Detroit Lions in week 10, Forte recorded 49 yards from scrimmage to bring his season total to 1,023, and became the first player in Bears history and 18th NFL player to record 1,000 yards from scrimmage in each of his first six seasons.[69][70] On November 24, 2013, Forte passed Neal Anderson for the second most career rushing yards in Bears franchise history.[71] On December 27, Forte was named to the 2014 Pro Bowl.[72] In the Week 17 loss to Green Bay, Forte recorded his 20th 100-yard rushing game, tying Gale Sayers for the second-most in Bears history. He also had three touchdowns, becoming the third Bear with two three-touchdown games in a season.[73] Forte ended the 2013 season with a career-high nine rushing touchdowns along with 1,933 total yards from scrimmage, fifth-most in team history and the second-most behind Payton. Forte also had 1,339 rushing yards during the season, the ninth-most in franchise history.[74][75] Forte's 1,339 rushing yards ranked second in the NFL in 2013, while his all-purpose yards from 1,933 yards ranked 4th.[76][77] Following the regular season's conclusion, Forte was one of three finalists for the FedEx Ground Player of the Year Award,[78] but finished runner-up to LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles.[79]

2014 season[edit]

Forte with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in 2014

In 2014, Forte solidified his reputation as one of the best receiving backs in NFL history, with five or more receptions in 14 of 16 games.[80] This included twelve receptions for 105 yards in game 5, followed by ten receptions for 77 in game 6, becoming just the fourth Bear (since joined by Alshon Jeffery in 2015),[81] and the second running back in NFL history with back-to-back 10+ reception games.[82][83][84] He ended the season with 102 receptions, breaking Larry Centers' 1995 record for running backs. Forte also had three 100+ yard rushing games, and nine games with 100+ yards from scrimmage. He passed 1,000 yards rushing for the third consecutive season (joining Neal Anderson and Walter Payton as the only Bears to do so), and for the fifth time in his career (second only to Payton).

2015 season[edit]

Forte began his 2015 season with a season-best 141 rushing yards against Green Bay, his best since Game 7 of 2011.[20] In week 3, Forte had zero receptions snapping a streak of 49 consecutive games, 17th all-time among running backs.[85] His production was sub-par even before a knee injury at the hands of Minnesota's Harrison Smith in game 7 sidelined him for three games.[86] In his 13 games in 2015, Forte rushed for 898 yards and four touchdowns, and caught 44 passes for 389 yards and three touchdowns, a then-career-low 1,287 yards from scrimmage.[87] He was ranked 90th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[88]

On February 12, 2016, Forte announced that the Bears were not going to attempt to re-sign him in free agency.[89] Ryan Pace, the Bears' general manager, later confirmed the Bears were not going to re-sign Forte. He praised Forte's contributions to the Bears by stating, "Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season."[90]

New York Jets[edit]

2016 season[edit]

On March 9, 2016, Forte signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the New York Jets.[91] In his Jets debut during their season opening loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, Forte had 22 carries for 96 rushing yards and five catches for 59 receiving yards in the 23–22 loss.[92] The following week, he finished a 37–31 victory over the Buffalo Bills with 30 carries for 100 yards and tied a career-high with three rushing touchdowns.[93] On October 23, 2016, Forte carried the ball 30 times for 100 yards and a touchdown while also making four receptions for 54 receiving yards and caught his first touchdown reception of the season in a win over the Baltimore Ravens.[94][95] He was placed on injured reserve on December 30, 2016 with a knee injury. The 5-11 Jets frequently fell behind early in games, and Forte split rushing duties with Bilal Powell.[96][97] He finished his first season as a Jet with a career-low 813 rushing yards with seven touchdowns to go along with 30 receptions for 263 yards and one touchdown.[98][99]

2017 season[edit]

Forte had a career-low 152 yards from scrimmage in his first three games before a toe injury sidelined him for two weeks, allowing Bilal Powell to emerge as a legitimate replacement.[100] He did not have a game with 10 rushing attempts until Week 9, when he scored his first two touchdowns of the season against the Buffalo Bills.[101] He was placed on injured reserve on December 30, 2017 after battling a knee injury for most of the season.[102] On Christmas Eve, against the Los Angeles Chargers, he had 19 rushing yards and seven receiving yards in what would be his final professional game.[103] Overall, he finished the 2017 season with 381 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, 37 receptions, 293 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.[104]

Retirement[edit]

On February 28, 2018, Forte announced his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons.[105][106] The Chicago Bears honored both Forte and former teammate Devin Hester on April 23, 2018 during a press conference at Halas Hall. The two players signed ceremonially one-day contracts to retire as members of the Bears.[107] Bears chairman George McCaskey praised Forte's legacy with the Bears, lauding the former running back as "a superior athlete and frequently the best player on the field — among the best in a long line of great Bears running backs."[107]

Career statistics[edit]

As of Week 17 of the 2016 NFL season. Source:[108]

Legend
NFL Record
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Rushing Receiving 2PT Fumbles
G GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2008 Chicago Bears 16 16 316 1,238 3.9 50T 8 63 477 7.6 19 4 0 1 1
2009 Chicago Bears 16 16 258 929 3.6 61 4 57 471 8.3 37 0 1 6 3
2010 Chicago Bears 16 16 237 1,069 4.5 68T 6 51 547 10.7 89T 3 1 3 2
2011 Chicago Bears 12 12 203 997 4.9 46 3 52 490 9.4 56T 1 0 2 2
2012 Chicago Bears 15 15 248 1,094 4.4 46 5 44 340 7.7 47 1 0 2 1
2013 Chicago Bears 16 16 289 1,339 4.6 55 9 74 594 8.0 34 3 1 2 2
2014 Chicago Bears 16 16 266 1,038 3.9 32 6 102† 808 7.9 56 4 2 2 2
2015 Chicago Bears 13 13 218 898 4.1 27 4 44 389 8.8 38 3 1 2 1
2016 New York Jets 14 13 218 813 3.7 32 7 30 263 8.8 40 1 0 1 1
2017 New York Jets 12 4 103 381 3.7 20 2 37 293 7.9 34 1 0 1 1
Career 146 137 2,356 9,796 4.2 68 54 554 4,672 8.4 89 21 6 22 16

Career awards and highlights[edit]

Bears Franchise Records

  • Most rush attempts, rookie season (316)[109]
  • Most receptions, rookie season (63)[109]
  • Most yards from scrimmage, rookie season (1,715)[109]
  • Most receptions, post-season game (10, 2011-01-23 GNB)
  • Games with 3+ TDs in a season (2 in 2013, tied with Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, and Neal Anderson)

Personal life[edit]

Forte married Danielle Daniels in August 2011. The couple has two children, Nala (born in 2013) and Matthew (born in 2015).[110][111] Forte and his family resided in Mettawa, Illinois during his tenure with the Bears.[112]

Forte is a Christian and attends weekly team Bible studies and chapels.[113] Forte has spoken about his faith saying, "When people look at me, I don’t want them to just see football. I want my faith to speak for me and that it’s about more than that. It’s about reaching out to others and telling them about your faith."[114]

Forte earned a degree in Finance from Tulane University in May 2009.[115]

In his spare time, Forte enjoys playing video games, especially Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Halo 3 for the Xbox 360.[116] Forte was also the runner up in the 2008 Rookie Madden Bowl.[117]

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