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Bears sign Forte to four-year contract

The Bears on Monday signed Matt Forte to a four-year contract through 2015.

In accordance with the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, the team had until 3 p.m. (CT) Monday to strike a long-term deal with the Pro Bowl running back.

In March, the Bears had placed a franchise tag on Forte, meaning that he would have earned $7.749 million for the 2012 season.

"I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years," Forte said. "I'd like to thank my family, my agent and the Chicago Bears. I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship."

Forte, 26, was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 draft out of Tulane. The 6-2, 218-pounder is the only player in NFL history to compile at least 900 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons.

"We're very pleased that we were able to come to terms on a four-year extension with Matt," said general manager Phil Emery. "We're excited to get him on the field and continue working towards our goal of winning a championship."

In 2011, Forte became the first Bears running back to be voted to the Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson in 1991, despite missing the final four games with a sprained MCL in his right knee. At the time of his injury, Forte led the NFL with 1,487 yards from scrimmage and was third in rushing with 997 yards.

With 4,233 yards from scrimmage in his career, Forte ranks fifth in Bears history behind Walter Payton, Neal Anderson, Rick Casares and Gale Sayers, and sixth among all NFL players since 2008, trailing only Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson.

After missing the offseason program, Forte will rejoin his teammates July 25 for the beginning of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

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