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Bears issue statement thanking ‘all-time great’ Matt Forte

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The Chicago Bears confirmed what Matt Forte essentially set forth earlier Friday by issuing a statement expressing gratitude for everything the running back did for the organization on the field as well as in the community.

“These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in the statement, via Pro Football Talk. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”

Forte on Friday morning posted a message on Instagram indicating that his Bears career for all intents and purposes was over.

“I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history,” he wrote in part.

Forte, in his eight years in Chicago, has left an indelible mark on said rich history. He career rushing yards (8,602) trails only Walter Payton on the Bears’ all-time list while also ranking second in total attempts (2,035) . He ranks second all-time in franchise history in receptions (487) and is sixth-all time in receiving yards (4,116).

All told, Forte ranks second all-time in Bears history in total yards from scrimmage (12,718).

With all those impressive stats in mind, expect Forte to generate significant interest in free agency, despite the fact he just turned 30 years old in December, something counterbalanced by how he missed only eight games in eight seasons with the Bears.