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Lovie Smith is optimistic about Matt Forte

Bears star Matt Forte encourages Chicagolresidents participate 'Staples Dream Park Challenge with Bears' by voting www.staplesdreampark.com. (Photo: Business Wire)

Bears star Matt Forte encourages Chicagoland residents to participate in the "Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Bears" by voting at www.staplesdreampark.com. (Photo: Business Wire)

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Updated: April 30, 2012 9:47AM



PALM BEACH, Fla. —Bears coach Lovie Smith is optimistic that Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte’s contract status will be resolved in the next couple of months.

“My glass is always half-full,” Smith said Wednesday morning. “Everything you’ve ever heard from us, Matt Forte is our running back. In the offseason, negotiations go on. That’s the time to take care of your contract situation, in the offseason. That’s where we’re at right now.

“Matt Forte hasn’t missed anything that we’ve had here. I think it’s a little bit early. This is the offseason, and these things go on in the offseason.”

Smith said he doesn’t get involved in contract negotiations.

“I’m the head football coach,’’ Smith said. ‘‘I’m not the GM. I don’t negotiate contracts. I don’t negotiate my contract. But, at the same time, I want what’s best for the Chicago Bears, always.”

The Bears put the franchise tag on Forte, which means he’ll make $7.74 million in 2012, then become a free agent.

Forte and the Bears would like to work out a long-term contract, but the sides haven’t been able to agree on the numbers.



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