LAKE FOREST -- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte said the organization's plan to apply the franchise tag after the season rather than sign him to the contract extension he had hoped for may guarantee he will remain a Bear through 2013, but it does not leave Forte with a feeling of loyalty from the team.
"I know I'm loyal to my teammates and my team are my guys, but it doesn't seem like the organization is to me," the Bears' running back said Tuesday after practice. "But that doesn't keep me from going out on the field and putting my best out there."
Forte said while it did not make sense to him to apply the franchise tag since the Bears will end up paying him approximately the same as his original asking price, and despite the fact that general manager Jerry Angelo promised him a new contract would be a top priority in training camp, it was not unexpected.
"It wasn't a shock. I knew it was an option," he said. "My agent informed me about that before we started negotiating with them. (But) we were looking to get a deal and the franchise tag is not going to be a solution."
The franchise tag will guarantee Forte's salary for 2012. The Bears then can, and in all likelihood will, apply another franchise tag with a slightly higher one-year salary for 2013.
If the whole process has taught him anything, Forte said, it is "not really to trust everybody that you think. I don't really hold grudges or anything like that," he said. "I just go out there and continue to play.
"I play for myself and my teammates and my family. I learned that it really is a business and that they really don't care about your personal life or anything like that. It's the National Football League and these organizations are in a business. That's the bad part about it."
Forte did agree it was gratifying to receive the kind of support from teammates and even opponents that has almost everybody these days saying, "Pay the man."
"It shows me I'm playing well and doing my job, but it also gets kind of old," he said " 'Pay the man' doesn't get me paid. It's nice to hear but it's not a solution to anything."
Melissa Isaacson is a reporter for ESPNChicago.com.