Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Bears Forte Football

Then-Bears running back Matt Forte is congratulated on the sideline after scoring a touchdown against the Lions during a game Jan. 3, 2016, in Chicago. Forte, currently with the Jets, announced his retirement on Wednesday after a 10-year career.


NEW YORK — Matt Forte spent the past few weeks weighing his difficult decision — to continue a terrific playing career or walk away from the game he loves.

On Wednesday, one of the NFL's most versatile running backs carried the ball for the final time.

The 32-year-old Forte announced his retirement from playing after 10 NFL seasons in a humble and heartfelt statement to Sports Spectrum that he also sent on Twitter and Instagram.

"It's time for the workhorse to finally rest in his stable," Forte wrote.

He had one year remaining on his contract with the Jets, but knee issues during his two seasons in New York, as well as his age, made him a likely salary cap casualty this offseason.

Instead, Forte went out on his own terms.

"For the past 10 years, I've been blessed to play professionally a game that I've loved since I was 6 years old," Forte wrote. "But after much prayer and reflection, I've decided to retire from the NFL."

The move saves the Jets $3 million on their salary cap — the same amount if they had released him.

Forte's 9,796 yards rushing rank him 33rd on the NFL's career list. He also had 554 receptions, including setting the league record for running backs with 102 catches in 2014.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection's 14,468 yards from scrimmage over the past 10 years are the most of any NFL player during that span.

Forte spent his first eight seasons with Chicago after being drafted in the second round out of Tulane in 2008. With the Bears, he established himself as one of the best all-around running backs in the league as an electrifying presence who could make plays running or catching the ball out of the backfield.

Forte ran for more than 1,000 yards in five of his eight seasons with Chicago, and caught at least 50 passes six times.

"The roar of the crowd at Soldier Field as I'd break a run or make a big catch," Forte wrote, "will forever be ingrained in my mind."

He became a free agent after the 2015 season, and the Jets signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract.

Forte led New York with 813 yards rushing, but it was a career low for the running back who ended the season on injured reserve. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the end of the 2016 season to repair a torn meniscus.

Forte was ready for the season opener, but swelling in the knee worsened last November and Forte said he was "basically playing on one leg" since. He ended up on injured reserve to end the season for the second straight year.

He had a career-low 381 yards rushing on just 103 carries last season and ran for two touchdowns, and also had 37 catches for 293 yards — the second-lowest totals of his career — and one TD.

Forte said late last season that he had no intentions of calling it a career, despite saying he did not produce "up to standards." But he changed his mind during the past few weeks.

"While my heart is a bit heavy as I close this chapter of my life," Forte wrote, "I am excited about what the future holds."


Load comments