Eight years ago this week, the Chicago Bears spent a second round draft pick on a largely unknown running back from the University of Tulane. Then Bears GM Jerry Angelo was well-known for two things: finding late round steals on defense and for being completely inept in selecting offensive players in any round.
When Angelo used the 44th overall pick on Matt Forte, just two years removed from major knee surgery, Bears fans all over the world groaned in unison.
But the player the Bears ended up with exceeded everyone’s expectations. In eight seasons, Forte became the face of the franchise.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl twice, set an NFL single-season record, and left the franchise second all-time in rushing yards and sixth in receiving yards.
In the video below, we spoke to Matt about his time with the Chicago Bears, what he remembers about his own draft experience, and teaming up with Verizon on the NFL Mobile App.
May is here, finally, and the sports calendar is starting to really get packed with plenty of options for the die-hard sports fan. But for you couch potatoes out there, today offers so many options you could spend the whole day lounging around with your beer and Fritos as you enjoy some of your favorite sports and sporting events. We have THE classic horse race, day 3 of the NFL draft, a potentially epic game 7 in the NBA playoffs and the rare occurrence of a boxing fight that everyone is talking about.
Horse racing may be dying a slow death, but the Kentucky Derby always gets everyone excited again, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you ever get the opportunity to go the Churchill Downs, make sure you take advantage of it. You love the race and all the southern belles all deck out in their sundresses and pretty hats. But naturally you can enjoy this on your couch as well. You can even mix yourself a special drink like The Grandstand Julip featured this week by Bob Westal.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as the race doesn’t go off until 6:24 PM EST and most of us won’t be wasting our time with the hours of pre-race hype.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is the kind of impact player that NFL teams envision when they select a player in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Selected ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year that season and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
What can he do for an encore in year three? Kuechly’s eyes are set on the Super Bowl. Kuechly’s old-school physical style and “Smelf-confidence” lends itself perfectly to a partnership with old-school icon Old Spice.
Talk about the partnership with Old Spice.
“I partnered up with them to talk about the hair product that came out earlier this year. There’s shampoos, conditioners, different gels. The biggest thing behind them is the simplicity to use the product. You can use it real quick and don’t have to take a whole lot of time. We use it quite a bit in the locker room. I passed it out to some of the linebackers and everybody is loving it right now.”
At every level you’ve played, you’ve been a tackling machine. How do you account for this? What do you do differently?
“I’ve always had a great group of guys around me. At Boston College, Bill McGovern (former DC) did a great job and he is the reason why I developed in college. And when I got to Carolina, I had some older guys around like Jon Beason [and] Thomas Davis that taught me a lot, and I learned what it takes to be successful. So I owe a lot to those guys for the success I’m having today.”
What makes the Panthers defense so physical? Every defense in the league tries to be what you guys are. What’s the secret?
“I think it’s a mindest. To play physical and establish the line of scrimmage and make physical tackles and force turnovers. We’ve had a couple meetings in OTA’s this year and that has been the message; to be a physical team, to push guys back and make plays… Our coaches preach being one of 11 for the defense. Do your job, take care of your responsibility on each play and try not to do too much. If each guy does his job and does it correctly, that’s 11 guys doing the same thing and that puts you in a position to win games.”
Football fans everywhere will be glued to their TV screens tonight as the NFL Draft starts at 8 PM EST on ESPN and the NFL Network. Millions more will be following the action on Twitter, which has become the ultimate meeting spot for sports fanatics. You can follow me our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, during the draft on Twitter @AnthonyStalter, and you can follow me @clevelandteams. Yes, I’m a tortured Cleveland Browns fan, so the draft is my annual Super Bowl.
Cleveland will be one of the pivotal teams in the draft with the #4 pick, and many are predicting that they will take running back Trent Richardson. But the Minnesota Vikings are making noise about trading out of the #3 pick, and that could mean Richardson goes to a team at #3. These tow teams will be pivotal in a draft that could be very hard to predict after the first two picks.
You can follow Anthony’s NFL draft coverage at ScoresReport.com. You’ll see his mock drafts along with analysis of the top draft prospects and sleepers.