Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
METAIRIE, La. Matt Forte went from Slidell to Tulane, earning praise along the way as a tough running back who gets the job done, just under the radar.
Now with the Chicago Bears, he's still under the radar.
Well, maybe just nationally.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler certainly knows Forte, heaping high praise for the fourth-year pro.
'You take him out of our lineup, we're going to have a hard time functioning,' said Cutler, who added later that Forte is his security blanket.
Forte has run for 3,304 yards in 49 regular season games with Chicago, including 68 this past week in Chicago's 30-12 win over the Falcons. He also caught five passes for 90 yards and a score against Atlanta.
What stands out to Cutler and Bears coach Lovie Smith about Forte is his ability to not only run between the tackles and outside the tackles, but also his capability to catch passes.
'He's a guy that no matter what the situation is, he is going to get the job done for you,' Cutler said.
Added Smith, 'To be the next great tailback in the line of special running backs, you want a guy like Matt. And on the field he can do it all that you want a great running back to do. He can run in between tackles. He can make you miss in the open field. He has good size. He has excellent hands. ...
'Our hands aren't tied at all as far as what we want to do. We have a lot of options as far as using him.'