Photo Credit: Bears Twitter
As is well known to both Boyz and Men, it is so hard to say goodbye. Apparently that can be true even when you’ve already parted.
Matt Forte and Devin Hester were two of the greatest players to wear GSH on their sleeves, but they had to move on before finishing their careers in Soldier Field. Today, they signed one day contracts with Chicago in order to retire as Bears.
The numbers in the graphic above speak for themselves. But beyond the numbers, these players provided hope to a franchise that hasn’t always had it. Devin Hester’s opening kickoff touchdown return in Super Bowl XLI made me actually believe Rex Grossman could hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Matt Forte’s ability to grind out yards and catch out of the backfield meant the pupu platter of quarterbacks the Bears trotted out during his career weren’t going to have to do too much (or in some cases barely anything).
It sucked to see Matt Forte play his remaining seasons with the Jets and for Hester to get his record-breaking 20th career “non-offensive” TD while wearing a Falcons Jersey. Their departures from the Bears were a virtual inevitability due to the penny pinching nature of the NFL in general and the McCaskey family in particular combined with the harsh reality of Father Time making it harder for great players to maintain their greatness. There is no ill will among Bears fans toward those two for going elsewhere to get paid and keep playing. Just a few tinges of regret.
The Bears are having a retirement ceremony for Devin Hester and Matt Forte right now (EDITOR’S NOTE: it’s over but available to replay) if you want to watch it. I’m just glad I got to watch him and Hester play. They were that great combination of great player and good person that you (futilely) hope every member of your team is. I’m glad they get to retire as Bears, and I don’t care if I speak for every Chicagoan when I say that they will be sorely missed.