Chicago Sun-Times

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TAMPA, Fla.--It doesn't look like Bears rookie running back Matt Forte will be chosen as the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, which will be announced Thursday. Forte is one of five finalists for the award along with Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, Tennessee running back Chris Johnson and Houston running back Steve Slaton.

In fact, word is honors will belong to Flacco. A source said Flacco is flying in to Tampa and that's likely to collect hardware at the noon press conference announcing the winner. The winner was chosen by fan vote.

But Forte hasn't been forgotten during the week. Pittsburgh running back Mewelde Moore, who preceded Forte at Tulane, was asked about the Bears' star and whether or not they keep in touch.

You can find some real interesting analysis of player values over at where executive editor Christopher Reina has a system of ranking all players.

Reina e-mailed me last month when the Pro Bowl teams were announced to share his analysis with me. His system had Bears' rookie Matt Forte as the highest-ranked running back in the entire league, and he presented a case that Forte was snubbed. I disagreed with him at the time, and we exchanged our thoughts on the matter.

Now, his final rankings are out and they're worth taking a look at. Reina's system takes into account the percentage of a team's offense that each player is responsible for, and obviously Forte ranked highly. He led the league in this category, and here's a look at the top five backs:

Running back Team Pct. of Team's Offense Ranking in Reina's System

Matt Forte, Bears, 34.99, 1
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota, 33.97, 4
Clinton Portis, Washington, 31.66, 7
Michael Turner, Atlanta, 29.58, 6
Chris Johnson, Tennessee, 29.17, 9

We're getting a late start on dipping into our mailbag today. The Jon Hoke hiring and Lovie Smith teleconference tied us up for the majority of the day. Typically, we want to get to the Q&A's a little earlier.

But before we do that, there are a couple links that are worth checking out in regards to the East-West Shrine Game, where Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and the scouting staff are for the week.

This gives a nice primer to set the week up down in Houston.

Here's a practice report that gives props to Jason Williams, the Chicago linebacker who had a fine career at Western Illinois. It's good stuff to get you in a combine and draft frame of mind.

Now to Four Down Territory.

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