PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Bears coach Lovie Smith said he's optimistic that Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte's contract status will be resolved in the next couple of months.
"My glass is always half full," Smith said from the NFC coaches breakfast this morning. "Everything you've ever heard from us, Matt Forte is our running back. In the offseason, negotiations go on. That's the time to take care of your contract situation, in the offseason. That's where we're at right now.
"Matt Forte hasn't missed anything that we've had here," Smith said later. "I think it's a little bit early. This is the offseason, and these things go on in the offseason."
Here are a few more questions and answers related to Forte:
Q: Do you wish Matt Forte's displeasure was more reigned in?
A: We're grown men, that make men decisions on how you want to handle a situation. I don't get too deep into that. I look at the offseason as a time to negotiate. You do it different ways.
Matt's been here a long time. He doesn't feel good about his contract situation, so he voiced that. It's no more than that. I don't make too big a deal about it. I've been in Chicago for a long time. I've seen a lot of contract situations go on.
In the end, if you know the person, you normally come to a good understanding, and that's what we'll do.
Q: Do you try to stay out of contract situations, so there's no issue between you and the player?
A: As much as I can. I'm the head football coach. I'm not the GM. I don't negotiate contracts. I don't negotiate my contract. I have an agent who does mine. Guys realize that.
But, at the same time, I want what's best for the Chicago Bears, always. And along with that, you want to see the players - especially the guys who have around a while that are your guys - get what they deserve. And normally it ends up happening that way.
Q: Forte had issues with former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. Does it make it hard for you, personally, to see a player who has done what he's done be so frustrated and not feel appreciated?
A: Going back to Jerry. I mean, I've heard it portrayed as, 'There's a problem with Jerry.' No. Matt Forte, as a football player, has a problem with our organization. You have to look at it that way instead of one person.
It's not about one person, ever. But, again, this is what happens in the offseason. That's the time to negotiate, to get what you feel you deserve. That's a part of the process. Matt is going through the process, which he should. He has people representing him. Again, he hasn't missed anything that we've ever done. So, again, I don't think we need to get too caught up in it.
Q: Did you give Matt a heads up before the Michael Bush signing?
A: Matt has an agent. I don't negotiate. What I've been doing is college visits and things like that. I'm not involved in negotiations. He has an agent, and we have people that handle that.
Q: Did you communicate with them?
A: There are negotiations that go on always. So, I'll just say that. There are no surprises on what's happening. Are we letting everyone know what we're going to do, every second, as far as strategy? No. Right now, when you're going things and talking to people, you want to keep it as hush-hush as possible. This is what all of our players need to know. We're doing everything we can improve our ball club. To get better teammates on the football team to help us win a championship. That's all they really want to know, is that.