The Chicago Bears say running back Matt Forte is cleared to play in the Pro Bowl after passing a physical.
Forte sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee early in a loss to Kansas City on Dec. 4 and sat out the rest of the season.
He still got selected to his first Pro Bowl, finishing with 1,487 yards from scrimmage and 997 rushing in his fourth season. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry and figures to be in for a big raise, with his rookie contract expiring.
Forte came into the season looking for an extension, but did not reach an agreement with the Bears.
Bears interview Ruskell
Chicago's director of player personnel Tim Ruskell has interviewed for the team's general manager job.
The interview took place on Thursday.
The Bears are looking to replace Jerry Angelo, who was fired after the Bears finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Ruskell served as the Seattle Seahawks' general manager from 2005 to 2009 before being hired by Chicago in April 2010.
The Bears also interviewed New England Patriots director of pro personnel Jason Licht, San Diego Chargers player personnel director Jimmy Raye and New York Giants director of college scouting Marc Ross this week.
Emery to interview today
Chicago is also scheduled to interview Kansas City Chiefs college scouting director Phil Emery on Friday.
Emery served as an area scout for the Bears from 1998-2004, before becoming director of college scouting for the Atlanta Falcons, a post he held for five seasons (2004-2008). He then moved on to his current position with the Chiefs.
Emery's first pick for Atlanta in 2004 was CB DeAngelo Hall, a three-time Pro Bowler. His third pick was current Texans QB Matt Schaub, another Pro Bowler. Other notable picks by Emery: WR Roddy White (1st round, 2005); Jonathan Babineaux (2nd, 2005); G Justin Blalock (2nd, 2007); CB Chris Houston (3rd, 2007); WR Laurent Robinson (4th, 2007); and QB Matt Ryan (1st, 2008).
With the Chiefs, he selected S Eric Berry in the first round of 2010. Berry became just the first Kansas City rookie to make the Pro Bowl since Derrick Thomas in 1989.
Yet Emery is not without his mistakes as well – he drafted Frank Omiyale in the fifth round, 2005.
Within the Bears organization, Emery is highly respected and considered a consummate professional. His familiarity within the walls of Halas Hall gives him added leverage over the other candidates.
Before coming to the NFL, Emery was director of strength and conditioning services and as an associate professor at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1991-1998.
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