Over the years some players who had come into the NFL have had above average or mediocre careers. But then there are those who come into the NFL and they make noise and blow up the scene with bright lights. Matt Forte was one of those people.
Who was Matt Forte?
He started his career at college when he attended Tulane University in New Orleans. While at Tulane, Forte established who he was and was the school star. He had the job at running back all four years at Tulane, but in his junior year he suffered a knee injury that ended his season. Some say this is where his injury problems started.
Forte came back his senior year better than ever and shattered school records. He posted a 2000+ rushing record and accumulated 23 touchdowns that year. Before the draft, he got even more hype in the Senior Bowl. Forte was walking into the draft with shattered school records and overall MVP of the Senior Bowl that year. Despite all the hype, Matt Forte was only drafted to the Bears in the second round at number 44.
While with the Bears, Forte was suppose to be the number two RB. He was fighting for number one with Cedric Benson, but due to legal problems Benson was cut and Forte stayed at number one. The Bears were not disappointed after that.
In the first game of the 2008 season Forte broke the debut record for a running back by rushing 123 yards on 23 carries that game, including a touchdown. That season he had more 100+ yards rushing in a game and broke the record for rookie running back for over 1000+ rushing in a single season. He lead all rookies in rushing having over 1700+ yards that season and breaking the legendary Mike Ditka’s rookie receptions as well.
Over the next couple of seasons Forte broke record after record on his path to legend hood. He shattered old records and set new ones to new heights. Then in 2011, he joined Herschel Walker in being the only two players with at least 700 rushing and 400 receiving yards in their first few seasons. Later, Forte became the only player with 900 rushing and 400 receiving yards in a season. But during the same season he sprained his MCL and ended his season early. However, his accomplishments that season gave him a spot in the Pro Bowl and being the first Bears RB to go since 1991.
Some say Forte’s MCL sprain was the start of his problems. After holding out in OTAs that summer due to a tag the Bears wanted to place, Forte got a four year deal and played the season until he got hurt again. This caused him to miss one game during the 2012 season and gave him a career low in yardage. It also allowed Forte to slip out of the top 10 scrimmage yard rushers. This was unheard of and Forte strived to be better.
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He was going into the 2013 season and breaking records again, posting nine touchdowns in the season and over 1300+ yards with an average of 88 yards per game. That same year he was elected to another Pro Bowl and actually played in it. After having terrific season, Forte solidified his place as an all-time great running back when he posted yet another 1000+ season. This put him in the same league as Neal Anderson and Walter Payton (Yeah, that Walter Payton as in the Man of the Year award Walter Payton). That same year was his fifth 1000+ which put him behind Walter Payton again.
A Great Career
In his last year with the Bears, Forte had a low year, not posting a 1000+ yards and being forced to the sideline by another injury. That year the Bears had decided not to re-sign him but thanked him for all he had done. It seemed like the beginning of the downhill roll for the Bears, but Forte was still a prized horse. He soon after signed with the New York Jets in 2016.
In the season opener he showed the Jets he still had it and even more so in the next game against the Bills, posting up three touchdowns. But unfortunately, he was placed on injured reserve due to a recurring knee injury that plagued him. The next season was the same.
Matt Forte officially announced his retirement from the NFL on February 28th, 2018.
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) February 28, 2018
He retires as a workhorse that kept running. He shattered records and proved himself to be candidate for the Hall of Fame, replacing records that were left by Hall of Famers like Mike Ditka and Walter Payton. If he should not get in then, it is a true shame. Matt Forte will always be remembered for his time in Chicago but to Jets fans everywhere, he will be remembered for the good and bad (but mostly good). JetsNation thanked Forte for serving as their No.1 running back over the course of two years.
And to Forte, thank you for the memories you gave us as both a Jet and a Bear. Enjoy retirement and we hope to see your name in the Hall of Fame one day.