In the Bears’ first training camp practice Thursday, Matt Forte didn’t look like someone who had suffered a season-ending knee injury last year or skipped the offseason program during a contract impasse.
The Pro Bowl running back resembled the same player who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last December when he got hurt in a loss to the Chiefs. On one running play Thursday, Forte displayed his patented explosiveness and quickness, bolting through a hole and racing to the end zone.
“The one he hit today was pretty clean, and he took it a long, long way,” said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. “It shows you what we can do. When you have a back that can take it to the house from anywhere on the field, it certainly changes what the defense can do to you.”
Forte was happy to be back on the practice field with his teammates.
“It felt like normal,” he said. “I missed OTAs and all that stuff, but it felt good to get back out there and be able to do football. You can only work out so much. It felt good to be back out there with everybody.”
During special teams drills Thursday, Forte spent time with quarterback Jay Cutler and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates working on pass-protection responsibilities in Tice’s offense.
“I’m just getting it under my belt,” Forte said. “It’s coming to me very naturally. The running game is basically the same as what we did last year. I just have to get the protections down … and know who I’ve got to get and how to get them. It’s been fun. It was a fun practice today. Hopefully the rest of camp is like that too.”
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