Bears great Matt Forte supports Roquan Smith 'standing his ground' in contract negotiations

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(670 The Score) Former Bears running back Matt Forte understands the position that Chicago star linebacker Roquan Smith finds himself in, as Smith is currently conducting a contract hold-in during training camp while seeking a long-term contract extension.

In 2012, Forte was in negotiations with the Bears on a contract extension and saw firsthand the difficulties that accompany such a matter. He discovered that it’s difficult to pass off contract negotiations and that your personal feelings are naturally going to creep into the business side of football.

It’s why Forte supports Smith’s effort to land a long-term contract extension.

“I respect him standing his ground and being like, ‘Look, I need to get paid,’ because you can get hurt any day,” Forte told Gabe Ramirez on 670 The Score on Wednesday evening. “And if you get hurt and they cut you, then they just release you and be like, ‘Well, you’re injured. You're not the same guy anymore.’ So, you have to use your leverage as a player.

“I’m for any player who wants to do that because you’re securing your future. This football thing is not for life, and you are going to have a family at some point. I'm only 36 years old and I've been retired for five years. You have to live life after that. If you can secure your future right now, then you got to do that. A lot of times, fans don’t understand, like, ‘Oh, you’re being selfish. You're doing this.’ You got to be selfish as a player with your body and with your future and with your career. The team is going to use their leverage. But a player has got to use his.

“The thing about contracts is these people that are in a front office say, ‘Well, you can’t take it personal. It's not personal.’ But it’s my personal life and career out there on the field, so I got to take it personal. It might not be personal for you, because this is the business because this is your job. But this is my job and my life and my livelihood. Like, I can go out there and get paralyzed.

“With Roquan and the Bears, I hope they work it out because he's been a solid and consistent player for them, and that’s what you look for on a team.

“The Bears, they are definitely cheap, and they give guys a hard time. I don’t know, they pay a lot of guys who don’t deserve the money and sometimes the guys who do deserve it, they don’t pay them.”

Forte played for the Bears from 2008-’15, rushing for 8,602 yards and 45 touchdowns in 120 games across eight NFL seasons in Chicago. He signed a four-year contract extension worth $32 million in 2012 before departing in free agency to the Jets after the 2015 season. Forte played his final two seasons in New York.

Smith is due $9.735 million in 2022 under the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. He hasn't practiced during training camp while seeking a new deal. On Aug. 9, the 25-year-old Smith formally requested a trade in a statement released on social media.

Smith is representing himself in negotiations with the Bears while declining to work with a certified agent.

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