ST. CHARLES – Before officially “jetting” off to New York, former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte stopped by Christ Community Church for a series of three services over June 25 and 26.
In an interview conducted by Executive Pastor Eric Rojas, Forte covered eight seasons with the Bears, his collegiate career at Tulane University, his friendship with Brandon Marshall and his faith in Christianity.
Forte was drafted by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played through the entirety of the 2015 season, and in March 2016, was traded to the New York Jets. Forte has a 8,602 career rushing yards and 2,035 rush attempts, which both rank second in franchise history behind Walter Payton.
After being born and raised in Louisiana, Forte decided to attend Tulane in New Orleans, where his father also attended and played football. But, it was more than just his father that influenced his decision.
“God answers prayers,” Forte said. “Before going into my senior year, I would pray at night, and I would say, 'Well, God.' I would pray that I would get a scholarship, you know, first and foremost, but, that I would also make the right decision, and so it kind of made it easy on me. It only gave me one choice basically.”
The idea of prayer and looking to God sprouted from a strong family background. Forte’s grandfather was a pastor, and his parents attended two different churches. By the age of 18, he decided that he wanted his own relationship with Christ.
That relationship has only grown, as he shared many personal stories to a packed house of Christ Community members and fans of the running back over the weekend.
As he heads to New York, Forte plans to keep another relationship going, this one with Jets wide receiver and former Bear Brandon Marshall, who is also a Christian.
“I constantly hold him accountable, and same thing with me, Forte said. “If I see him say something or do something, I’m like, ‘That’s out of character of you, Brandon’, and you know, we talk about it in private and things get handled that way like men, so that’s the best kind of relationship that you can have and ask for.”
Rojas' final question of the evening was all about Forte’s touchdown “routine.” Unlike some players in the NFL, Forte does not have a dance, but instead flexes his biceps and points up, which he says means, “Thank you God, I get my strength from you.”
“I didn’t get to the end zone by myself, Forte said. “There’s 10 other guys out there blocking, and you know, I didn’t get to the NFL by myself. It was God’s path for me.”