As great as it to be an NFL running back, it certainly isn’t as great as it once was.
The running game has been de-emphasized in favor of the passing game, teams would rather use a committee of running backs rather than one grinder and players at the position don’t exactly have a long shelf-life.
None of that seems to have an impact on Chicago Bears’ running back Matt Forte.
According to John Mullin of CSN Chicago, Forte believes he can have a 12-year career, which means he would play through the 2019 season.
“I think I can play 12 years,” Forte told CSNChicago.com. “I love this offense and we’re just getting started, too.”
Coincidentally, or maybe not, a run of 12 years would leave him one short of Payton. But Payton played until his number — age 34 — which is what Forte would be in year 12 of his “plan.”
Forte has laid out a strategy that would have made Payton proud. Walter had his legendary “Hill” in Barrington, a steep slope on which Payton would train far beyond the limits of teammates who tried it with him.
Forte has his own workout program but has added a pre-emptive element, that of working with a physical therapist not once, but twice a week.
“Most people wait until they have something wrong before they see someone,” Forte said. “I think it makes more sense to be working on things before they become problems and keeping them from becoming problems.”
Forte rushed for 1,339 yards and nine touchdowns on 289 carries last season. He has 6,666 yards and 35 touchdowns on 1,551 carries in his career.