A handful of NFL teams began mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, but quite a few teams were missing players from practice. One of those players missing was Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, who the team hit with the franchise tag during the offseason. Forte's absence wasn't unexpected though, as head coach Lovie Smith expected it and noted he's not bothered by it.
"It's not an issue for me and it can't be," Smith said told media on Tuesday.
"During the course of the year you have guys who aren't here for whatever reason," Smith continued. "You coach the guys who can go, who can practice. We've been spending all our time with that. I know Matt Forte. I'm sure he's getting ready to go. But in the meantime, the best thing we can do for the Chicago Bears is just keep this train going, which we've done."
Forte hasn't signed his franchise tender yet, which is set to pay the running back $7.74 million guaranteed for the 2012 season. Since Forte has not signed his tender, he's technically not under contract and is not subject to fines.
For more on the Bears, head over to the SB Nation blog Windy City Gridiron.