Matt Forte says he won’t be re-signed by Bears in touching goodbye on social media

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Bears running back Matt Forte greets fans after the team's season-ending 24-20 loss to the Lions on January 3rd.

Bears running back Matt Forte greets fans after the team’s season-ending 24-20 loss to the Lions on January 3rd.

CHICAGO — Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte announced on social media Friday morning that he will no longer be part of the team.

The Bears confirmed the move officially in a press release just after 10 AM this morning.

“We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season,” Bears General Manager Ryan Pace said in a statement released by the team. “These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. 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 finishes his career as one of the greatest running backs in Bears’ history. He rushed for 8,602 yards since being drafted by the Bears in the second round out of Tulane in 2008. That total is second only to Walter Payton in the team record books after he rushed for 898 yards this season with a 4.1 yards per carry average on four scores.

He is also second in receptions with 487 and will end up finishing just short of Walter Payton’s franchise record of 492. This year Forte had 44 catches for 389 yards and three touchdowns.

Forte made the Pro Bowl twice in his career while also being named the team’s Brian Piccolo Award winner in 2008 and 2014.

In a post on his social media accounts, Forte writes:

“Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end. I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I’m excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!”

Other athletes are responding to Forte’s announcement on Twitter. Former Chicago Bulls player Scottie Pippen  tweeted, “Sorry to see No. 22 go. A great pro on and off the field. Best of luck @MattForte22 at your next stop.”

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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