The Chicago Bears have confirmed the news many fans had seen coming since mid-way through the 2015 NFL season; Matt Forte will not be returning to the franchise for the 2016 campaign.
Forte, 30, confirmed the news himself via his official Instagram account, admitting his departure comes "despite his wishes."
The 30-year-old has been with the Bears for the past eight years and leaves Soldier Field as their second most productive running back in franchise history having amassed 8,602 yards - scoring 64 touchdowns in the process.
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The Bears confirmed the news themselves shortly after Forte's post to social media.
Having failed to agree to a new extension back in the 2015 offseason, Forte's future in Chicago was always uncertain. And, after missing three games through injury last season, the Bears have now opted to allow the fan favorite to become an unrestricted free agent.
Replacing Forte will not be an easy task, however. Despite his age, the dual-threat RB has remained productive, with 2015 the first time he dropped below 900 rushing yards.
As he referred to in his Instagram post, a Super Bowl ring has so far eluded Forte in his NFL career. Now into the latter stages of his career, he will surely be looking to join a team that is ready to challenge for the Lombardi Trophy in 2016.
The task of filling Forte's veteran boots in Chicago will likely fall to Jeremy Langford. In deputising for the veteran last season, the rookie managed 537 yards and six touchdowns on 148 attempts as well as 279 yards and one touchdown through the air.
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