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Forte expects to play for Bears, but report date is in question

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Disgruntled Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte said Friday he will play for the team this season. He's just unsure when he will report to training camp.

"I don't think I really have a choice, do I?" Forte told ESPN.com at a charity football event in Chicago. "Yeah, I'll be here.

When asked if he would report when training camp opens on July 26, he said, "It's going to be a fun season."

The four-year veteran has been locked in a contract dispute with the Bears since last year. When negotiations dragged earlier this year, the Bears placed the franchise tag on Forte. It's a move that would earn him $7.749 million this, but it is not the long-term contract he was seeking.

"I'm excited to get in there and talk to Mr. (Jeremy) Bates and get in there with Jay (Cutler) and see what he thinks about the passing game, and see how I can get involved in that, too," said Forte, who has until July 16 to negotiate a long-term deal or the franchise deal goes into place.

Forte suffered a knee injury at the end of last season. He has gone out of his way to show the Bears his knee is healthy.

"I've been lifting a little harder this offseason and running more," said Forte, who has not attended any Bears mini-camps because of the contract dispute. "Just because I was able to heal a lot earlier having to sit out the last four games and having that time, and I was able to heal from the other injuries."
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