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Lance Briggs OK with Matt Forte being MIA from Bears’ OTA

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs isn't too concerned about Matt Forte not being team's workout right now. | AP

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs isn't too concerned about Matt Forte not being at the team's workout right now. | AP

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Updated: June 6, 2012 2:44PM



Bears running back Matt Forte, still miffed he has not signed a long-term contract, missed his ninth consecutive ‘‘organized team activity’’ Wednesday at Halas Hall. But it’s not big deal yet. Brian Urlacher wasn’t there, either. Neither was Devin Hester and Charles Tillman — and they’re healthy and under contract.

And besides, the OTAs technically are voluntary. Next week’s three-day mini-camp is mandatory. Forte, who has yet to sign the Bears’ one-year offer of $7.7 million for 2012 as the team’s ‘‘franchise’’ player, isn’t expected to attend those, either. It’s not until training camp begins that teammate Lance Briggs starts to get concerned. And even then, Briggs isn’t worried about Forte missing the 2012 season in a contract dispute.

‘‘I’m not worried about it,’’ said Briggs, who missed offseason workouts in 2007 when the Bears put the franchise tag on him in a similar dispute. ‘‘To me it’s not an issue. I know the type of player that Matt Forte is. You know the type of player that Matt Forte is. I guarantee you Matt Forte is working out now.’’

The Bears still seem to be working on rudimentary issues in the OTAs, more important to newcomers than veterans. But at some point, it would behoove Forte to return if he plans on playing in 2012.

‘‘I’m less concerned about next week as I am about August and September,’’ Briggs said. ‘‘You’ve got to remember, there were about three offseasons I didn’t come in at all. Those three seasons I didn’t come in, I was still productive. I helped the team win. Do I think him not being here next week is going to be a make-or-break for our season? Not at all.’’

Forte has been there before. In fact, even with the long-term deal he eventually received in 2008 he had to overcome his own frustration and unhappiness over the Bears’ refusal to renegotiate his contract.

‘‘It’s rough,’’ he said, when asked what Forte is going through. ‘‘In this league you work hard and you want that to be recognized with a long-term deal. You know how this business is. It’s rough. It can be brutal.’’

His advice for his teammate: ‘‘Do what you believe. Because no one knows you like you,’’ he said. ‘‘And no one’s going to take care of you like you.’’

In the end, Briggs always managed a supreme effort on the field whenever he felt disrespected by the Bears. And he feels sure that Forte will do the same.

‘‘Matt is a heluva football player,’’ he said, ‘‘and I think that if Matt is out on the football field, Matt’s going to be one of the best backs in the league, regardless of what’s going on in the business side and what-not, he’s on that field, he’s helping us win.

‘‘Whenever Matt decides it’s time for him to come in, he’s ready to come play. We’ll be ready for him to come in and do what he does. I can’t wait to have him on the field.’’



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