GM hopes to get Matt Forte deal done

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo expressed excitement about signing center Roberto Garza to a two-year extension, and indicated the team could consummate more deals to bring back its own players by the end of the season.

In an interview with the team's website, the general manager also reiterated his desire to re-sign running back Matt Forte.

"We always have our lines in the water, so to speak, talking about extensions or re-signing our players," Angelo said. "That's always ongoing. Hopefully, we'll have something to announce at some point. When I say we always have lines in the water, I can't tell you exactly when we're going to be able to initiate meaningful conversations. In Roberto [Garza's] case, it happened in a 24-48-hour span, and you can't really predict it."

Despite the team's struggle to re-sign Forte, and the running back's remarks about the team not showing loyalty to him, Angelo's stance hasn't changed. Looking to debunk the perception that the team isn't interested in retaining Forte's services, Angelo said the team would like the running back to remain a Bear for years to come.

"Matt was the only player we targeted, and we made him what I feel is a very lucrative offer on a contract extension," Angelo told the team's website. "The deal did not get done, but we definitely want Matt to play many more years with the Bears. Any suggestion otherwise simply is not true. We buy into Matt as both a player and a person."

The Bears signed Garza to a two-year extension worth $6.55 million, including $2.6 million guaranteed, and officially announced the deal on Tuesday. Other Bears priority free agents appear to be receiver Earl Bennett, cornerback Corey Graham, quarterback Caleb Hanie, defensive end Israel Idonije, linebacker Brian Iwuh, cornerback Tim Jennings, safety Brandon Meriweather, defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and offensive lineman Edwin Williams.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.