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How to beat a bear market

The 26-year-old running back spent the last year playing for pennies. Finlay MacKay for ESPN The Magazine

MATT FORTE WAS OPEN TO THE MEETING. His agent had advised against it because NFL players typically don't attend their own contract negotiations. Players are inherently emotional, negotiations are inherently confrontational and this negotiation, between the Bears and Forte's agent, Adisa Bakari, had turned emotional and confrontational in the preceding weeks. But in late August, days before the 2011 regular season was to begin, Jerry Angelo, the Bears' GM at the time, asked Forte, the Bears' star running back, to sit down. Forte, by nature a people pleaser, said sure.

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