By Paul M. Banks
This fall #22 Matt Forte will try to continue the legacy of Chicago Bears tailbacks such as Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Red Grange and Neal Anderson. Youâ€™ll notice that last yearâ€™s starter, 2005 #4 overall Draft choice Cedric Benson isnâ€™t on that list.
Cedric the Entertainerâ€™s less-than-entertaining off the field antics led to his dismissal from the Monsters of the Midway and opened the door for Forte, a second round pick (44th overall) out of Tulane. I had an exclusive chat with Forte after Wednesdayâ€™s nightâ€™s practice in Bourbonnais and asked him how his running style has been described. â€œI would say itâ€™s unique. It has a lot of stuff to offer, quickness, speed, power, agility and the toughness to pound the ball out every game,â€ he responded. â€œOnce we get these preseason games under our belt, weâ€™ll be ready to go,â€ Forte added.
His back up will be the familiar veteran Adrian Peterson. (No, not that Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikingsâ€™ NFL record setting rusher nicknamed â€œPurple Jesusâ€) Behind Peterson will be the man who put on quite an amazing show at this particular practice, the diminutive Garret Wolfe, who is entering his second year out of Northern Illinois University. Last yearâ€™s Bears unit ranked 30th out of 32 NFL teams in rushing yards per game. So there is obvious reason to believe that the autumn of 2008 should see a tremendous improvement. Benson was a colossal bust when you consider how the last running back drafted that high by the Bears was â€œSweetnessâ€ himself, Walter Payton.
Perhaps Forte can make the fans forget about Benson and remind them of the glory days instead. â€œThey have a great history of running backs here, Hall of Famers, and hopefully I can add to that,â€ Forte concluded.
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