The Chicago Bears have been through a lot the last seven days. One thing they hope they don't have to endure is a holdout by their star running back.
In a week when three practices have been stopped and moved or canceled, the stoppage the Bears hope they don't have is a work stoppage from running back Matt Forte on Saturday when they open the preseason at home against the Buffalo Bills.
"I expect all the guys to be ready to play if we tell them," coach Lovie Smith said. "Again, we'll make those decisions a little bit later, but you just look at what Matt is doing. You love everything he's done and why wouldn't he be ready to go?"
In the final year of his contract, Forte has a promise from General Manager Jerry Angelo to negotiate an extension. It hasn't been done yet.
As a result of that, and out of injury concerns in a meaningless exhibition, Forte hinted on Monday he would consider sitting out preseason games.
"But just to make that a fact, and say 'I'm not going to,' I haven't gotten there yet," Forte told the Chicago Tribune.
On Thursday he told the Associated Press the situation remains much the same.
"I said it's possible I would consider it," Forte said. "Nothing has changed."
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, players can be fined $30,000 a day for holding out.
"That's the way it is," Forte said. "You've got to deal with it if you decide to do it."
Forte said he sees benefits to getting on the field against Buffalo even if it includes only a few snaps.
Last year Forte had only 12 preseason carries and one reception.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Johnny Knox had reportedly pondered asking the team for a trade after being demoted to second string behind newly acquired Roy Williams. However, Knox and coaches strongly denied he felt this way.