Jay Cutler said last week that he expected Matt Forte to sign his franchise tag tender offer or conclude a long-term deal with the Bears, meaning that he does not anticipate the running back to miss any games that matter.
Coach Lovie Smith refused to speculate either way on Forte earlier this week and made it clear that the Bears are moving on with the players they have. On Thursday Smith changed direction and, without being asked about Forte, twice volunteered that he was looking forward to having Forte.
Cant wait to get down to training camp, to get a few more of our guys back out there in the mix, Smith said, mentioning, Brian Urlacher, get Matt Forte back out there, those guys.
Later Smith included Forte in his thoughts on the Bears running game for 2012: Were adding Michael Bush to the mix with Matt Forte, Kahlil Bell, Armando Allen, other good football players.
Smith appeared to be making something of a statement to Forte earlier this week. He made a decidedly different one as minicamp concluded on Thursday.