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Devin Hester has advice for Matt Forte

BOURBONNAIS, Il. -- Devin Hester can relate to Matt Forte.

Three summers ago it was Hester who entered Chicago Bears camp with a contract issue hanging over the team's head. After back-to-back Pro Bowl berths in 2006 and 2007, Hester was ready to cash in just a few years into his original rookie contract.

Hester had this advice for Forte.

"Just be patient," Hester said. "The coaches upstairs know when a player deserves a new contract. It's not rocket science. Just stay patient. I'm glad that he's here, he's showing that he's willing to do whatever. That shows a great side of him doing that. He'll be rewarded for that. There is no doubt in my mind.

"Matt is a great athlete and a key asset to our team. With a guy like that on our team, it makes it a lot easier. With a guy like Matt back here, it brings a lot of (happiness) to our players."

Forte arrived in camp on time Friday with an assurance from Bears general manager Jerry Angelo that a contract extension would be a "priority" for the organization. Hester took a slightly different approach, failing to show up the first day. Hester's absence, however, was a brief one, and the record-setting return man quickly agreed to a four-year extension that could be valued at $40 million.

"My holdout, I was here, I just didn't practice," Hester said. "I went to the meetings and everything. I came, and showed I was willing to be a part of the team. That's all that really mattered."

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.