Bears sign Forte to four-year deal

Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:23pm EDT

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (R) is brought down by San Diego Chargers' Steve Gregory (L) in the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago, Illinois, November 20, 2011. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (R) is brought down by San Diego Chargers' Steve Gregory (L) in the first half of their NFL football game in Chicago, Illinois, November 20, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

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(Reuters) - The Chicago Bears signed Matt Forte to a four-year contract, ending any chance of the Pro Bowl running back holding out to start the 2012 National Football League (NFL) season, the team said on Monday.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Bears but several media reports said Forte's contract is worth about $32 million.

"We're very pleased that we were able to come to terms on a four-year extension with Matt," Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery said in a statement. "We're excited to get him on the field and continue working towards our goal of winning a championship."

Forte, who missed the final month of last season with a sprained right knee, rushed for three touchdowns and a team-leading 997 yards during the 2011 NFL campaign.

His injury, which came two weeks after starting quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a season-ending injury, was a major blow for a Bears team that struggled down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs.

Forte, selected in the second round by Chicago in the 2008 NFL Draft, is the only player in league history with 900 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in each of his first four seasons.

"I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my team mates at training camp next week," said Forte. "I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship."

(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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