“I’m dead. I’m an old man. I feel like I’m so old, man,” Forte said. “Yesterday I was 29 years old, running around all practice. Today it took me like one extra minute to get going. It’s taken a toll on me.”
A free agent after the season, Forte remains one of the league’s most versatile tailbacks, regardless of age.
In only nine games this season -- Forte missed three weeks with a Grade 2 MCL sprain -- the eight-year veteran has 943 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. Just two weeks removed from the knee injury, Forte carried the ball 21 times for 84 yards and one touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the Bears' last game.
Forte leads all NFL running backs in all-purpose yards (12,374) since 2008.
“I just know for us right now he’s playing really well,” Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase said. “He’s doing some things that I haven’t seen many running backs be able to do because he’s so good in all three areas of the game for that position. We lean on him. I think this last game showed you, what did he have, 21 carries, and he was effective in all those rushes and really probably should have had over 100 yards if we don’t get that holding call. We had an explosive run that put us in great position and then we get it called back. For us, I feel like he’s still playing at a very high level.”
At this rate, Forte said he plans to play a minimum two more years in the NFL.
“I can probably play 12 or 13 years, or something like that,” Forte said. “I think when I came out of college I said I’d like to play at least 10 years. Twelve years is a long time for a running back, even 10 years. I’ll assess where I am after 10 years, but my goal is 10 or 12 years.”
Forte’s fitness level is one key to his longevity. The tailback stays in tremendous shape, and has done so for years.
“Last week I felt great during the game because we were able to rotate a lot and still be successful in the run game,” Forte said. “I was used to taking almost every single snap out there. As long as I don’t have to keep doing that, I can stay healthy for longer stretches during the game and obviously during the season.”