When we heard RB Matt Forté was in the process of becoming a Jet, we began research to find out a little more about the man and the football player. Here are six things we didn't know about Forté:
1. He Doesn't Horse Around
Brandon Marshall, his former Bears teammate and now his Jets mate, referred to one of Forté's nicknames when he urged Jets fans on Instagram to "follow your new WorkHorse." Forté left just one ratty old shirt, which bore his number, 22, below the words WORK HORSE, on a hanger in his locker when he departed the Bears' facility for the last time after the season.
"All my hard work, blood, sweat and tears are in this shirt, so I wanted to leave it," he told reporters that day in January. "You see how tattered and beat up it is. It's not like me. I'm still good."
2. A Tale of Two Pooches
Part of Forté's secret seems to be that he's a family man all the way. He and wife Danielle have two children, Nala and Matthew, and two dogs, Ali and Taz. Taz is a Yorkie while Ali's a bully. And we do mean bully, not just as in his breed but as in his role in Forté's training.
There's a hill imaginatively called The Hill, in Arlington Heights, IL, that NFL great Walter Payton once used for his killer workouts. When Forté ran The Hill as a Bear, he often brought Ali along for some races.
"I used to win, but he's gotten faster as he's gotten older," he told PAWS Chicago, adding, "Sometimes I let him run around and chase me like I'm dodging defenders."
3. Two Grand for Tulane
Forté is one of the handful of running backs at any level of football who has run for 2,000 yards in a season. He did it when he rushed for 2,127 yards in 12 games as a Tulane senior in 2007, which at the time was seventh (now ninth) in NCAA Division I/FBS history and one of 11 (now one of 18) to reach two grand.
"I dreamed of 1,000 yards, 1,500 yards," he said at the time. "Two thousand is beyond a dream."
4. Other Sports Lives
Forté was asked as part of a sporsinheels.net infotainment Q&A what athletic careers he might have pursued if not football.
"I'd be a professional golfer or baseball player," he said. "I grew up playing baseball and I was pretty good at it but the game was pretty slow. I actually live on a golfcourse in Chicago and I get out there a lot and play. It's fun but I just have to work on my putting."
Don't we all.
5. Arnold's Take
Forté did a guest appearance on NFL Network after NFL Media had revealed "The Top 100 Players of 2014" and the Bears RB had come in at No. 91. Matt was having some fun talking trash about the voters who ranked him so low after he enjoyed his fifth 1,000-yard rushing season and added 102 receptions — an NFL record for a running back in a season.
An NFLN host said Forté always breaks out his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation at times like these and perhaps he'd want rip the ranking doing his best Governator. "Arnold would be outraged," Matt said with a smile as, well, Arnold. "It's ridiculous. This list is bullcrap. It should be thrown out into the streets and stomped."
If you want to give a listen to Matt as Arnold, go to the 5:30 mark of the embedded video.
6. What the Deuce
Details of Forté's career numbers can be found elsewhere, but one stat we didn't know was the frequency with which he scored on two-point conversions. He has six deuces in his NFL career, the most among active players and tied for second-most all-time in the regular season with Terance Mathis behind Marshall Faulk's seven.
Head coach Todd Bowles might be able to use Forté's two-point services. The Jets didn't attempt a two-pointer last year but since 2011 they're 0-for-6. In that span Forté is personally 4-for-6.