Bears' Matt Forte says he doesn't plan to stage holdout over contract extension

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte reiterated Thursday that he does not plan to stage a training camp holdout even though the Bears denied his offseason request for a new contract extension.

"I don't really have that leverage [to hold out]," Forte told CBS Sports Radio in Chicago. "The Bears have the leverage. If they want to give me a contract extension and have me retire as a Chicago Bear and play my entire career here, they can do that. If they don't, then they won't. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to hold out and stuff like that."

The 29-year-old Forte, who could earn a maximum $8.2 million in the final year of his contract, discussed a potential contract extension with Bears general manager Ryan Pace early in the offseason to no avail.

"We talked about it early in the offseason and that's a tough time to talk about it because they just got here," Forte said. "They have people to add in free agency and people to look for in the draft and that type of stuff. We did talk about the contract and I was asking them if we were going to talk about it [after free agency and the draft] and they said, 'no.'

"When we talked about the extension, I was doing stuff actually to help out the team because I have a high cap number this year [$9.2 million]. I told them it kind of made sense to do an extension where I can retire a Bear and continue the legacy and also lower my cap number as well. I'm not looking for a huge contract. I know I'm 29 years old and that I'm a running back too. I let them know that I'm not angry or holding any grudges or anything, but that I'm just going to prepare myself the best that I can to be prepared when the season comes. I felt like that's what I needed to do."

Forte returned to Chicago this week after spending a chunk of the offseason training in South Florida. He is expected to participate in phase two and phase three of the Bears' voluntary offseason program and the mandatory veteran minicamp in June.

"My plan from the beginning, and I talked about it with John Fox and Ryan Pace, was to go down to Florida and get my speed training back then come back and be here," Forte said. "I really haven't missed that much. We still have phase two and phase three of offseason workouts to go and I'll be here."

Forte led the Bears in rushing yards (1,038) and receptions (102) last season and is tops in the league in yards from scrimmage (11,431) and is third in rushing yards (7,704) since 2008.