Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips told the Sun-Times Monday evening that the club has made Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte a "strong offer" and the they're hopeful he'll accept it.
"I think not only do we appreciate him and have told him so, but I think the offer we've made him shows that, too. Now, different people can disagree on the ultimate value," Phillips said. "But we feel we've made a strong offer to him, and are still hopeful he accepts it."
Forte expressed his frustration after the club signed Michael Bush to a four-year contract late last week. But, Phillips said the team needs a "complementary" back and reiterated that the Bears have no intention of trading or parting ways with Forte.
"Matt Forte is our No. 1 running back. He's been told that, and he knows that. We all know that. He's going to be a Bear for 2012, at least," Phillips said. "He knows he has a long-term offer on the table, and we hope, at some point and time, he chooses to accept that."
Asked about some trade rumors, Phillips said, "I'm not going to comment on rumors.
"But, they're all just rumors. Matt, who's been a big part of our team, we want him to be a big part of our team this year."
Phillips said Forte has been excellent for the club, both on and off the field.
"If he continues to play the way he has," Phillips said. "I hope he continues to play here a long time."