Lovie Smith can't say if Matt Forte will be on-time for camp

Lovie Smith cannot predict what the future holds so he doesn’t know if Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte will be an on-time arrival for training camp.

The Pro Bowl performer from last season missed the entire offseason program, including minicamp, as he angles for a multi-year contract. The Bears have placed the franchise tag on the running back, meaning he will earn $7.7 million this season if he doesn’t get a long-term deal done.

There has been zero reported progress in a deal for Forte, and at this point it would take a significant breakthrough for Forte to land the kind of deal he’s seeking before the July 16 deadline.

There is also no guarantee Forte will show up for the start of training camp without a long-term deal. History shows that players upset with their franchise-tag situation have stayed away from camp.

“Whatever is presented us during that time,” Smith said, “We'll deal with it.

“The offseason is the time, if you have an issue with your contract, to take care of that. This is the offseason. That is how I have looked at it. Matt isn't here right now. He'll take care of his contract situation in time. We can't wait to get him back on the football field."

Unfortunately, there is no way of telling if in-season Forte will still be concerned with his contract situation.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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