Matt Forte is a 30-year-old running back but coming off a season with the least amount of touches in his career he says he feels fresher than he normally does this time of year.
"I don't normally think about how many years (I have) left, I just keep playing year after year. But physically, I feel really good," Forte said. "Last year was the least amount of carries I had in a season and I had an injury where I missed three games, but I had that same injury four years prior and missed four games, so being four years older and missing one less game kind of attests to my rehab and my dedication of being healthy and trying to stay on the field. I was able to do that, and like I said, I didn't have a whole lot of carries this year to where when I came back off my injury, I was kind of splitting time.
"That was the Bears decision, that's what they wanted to do. I feel really healthy and after the season, I took off probably three weeks and was feeling really good after those three weeks and usually it kind of takes two months to feel really good after the season. I'm feeling healthier earlier after the season and so I'm excited about coming out to the Jets and a new team and getting ready to work."
The Jets weren't the only team interested in Forte —he mentioned that the Bucs, Cowboys, Patriots and Packers were all interested — but the Jets showed the "strongest interest." At that point it became an easy decision for Forte because he had already talked to his friend and ex-teammate Brandon Marshall all about the Jets and their offense.
"Somewhat (Marshall helped recruit him), not heavily like you would think. Actually a couple of weeks ago, we were in the same place in Denver at a conference for pro athletes outreach and he was kind of asking me who I was talking to, or who I thought was going to be talking to me," Forte said. "He gave me the whole rundown of the team and why I would be a good fit and all that stuff. At that time, I didn't really think that the Jets would actually be the front runner, but as it got closer and closer, I started to think how it would actually be a good fit and how they were talking to my agent when free agency came and it just ended up being a perfect fit for me."
If you're thinking back to after Marshall first got traded to the Jets and Forte was quoted about how Marshall "didn't hold himself accountable" and worried that those issues could be a problem, don't be. That's just their relationship, Forte said they both hold each other accountable and speak their minds but the respect is always there.
"No, no tension. Brandon and I hold each other accountable and even when we're not on the same page team we do the same thing. We're friends off the field, not just in the locker room." Forte said. "It may sound harsh when you're talking to each other over the media and things may get twisted, but we spoke to each other on the phone after that and hashed everything out and were good friends to each other. When Brandon was with us at the Bears, there were some things going on. I think Brandon was - he said it too - that he was a little bitter that he got traded from Chicago. He wanted to stay there and we talked about it and resolved everything. There really were no lingering issues. We are always like that. If I'm at practice and he sees me do something, he's going to hold me accountable and the same thing with me, not only at practice, but in everyday life."
Plus now the two can bond over their bitterness to Chicago because even though Forte wasn't traded by the Bears he did admit that them not even making any type of offer to him was a "hard pill to swallow."
There is however one hold up for Forte, he hopes the Jets re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. Forte signed with the Jets expecting Fitzpatrick to re-sign and he's still hoping Fitzpatrick will be his quarterback next year.
"Well based off of last year's production - and Brandon has talked about the chemistry that he has built with Ryan - so I would hope and expect that it would be him just to build off of what they had last year."
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (email@example.com)null