Any hint of optimism regarding Matt Forte contract talks evaporated into the hot summer air during an interview with ESPN's Adam Schefter on NFL Live today.
Forte was essentially emotionless as Schefter sat down with Forte for a one-on-one interview regarding the year-long contract stalemate that reaches its deadline on Monday.
Schefter fired off the typical questions to Forte: "How challenging has it been for you to deal with this contract situation?"
Forte responded that he's "tired of the repetition of the same questions" (regarding his contract) and the same rhetoric "the pay man stuff."
From there, Schefter immediately pressed Forte, stating, "What chance do you think, if you could put a percentage on it, that this deal will get done by Monday's deadline?"
A clearly irritated Forte shifts in his seat, sits absolutely silent, gathers his thoughts with no hint of emotion and then proceeds to answer:
"A percentage, (Forte laughs uncomfortably at the essential indirect directness of Schefter's question) I don't know if I can put a percentage on it, I'm just hopeful about it right now, (continues to chuckle at the audacity of the question) basically, I can't even put a percentage on it."
Schefter continues to press to get something, anything out of Forte:
"More optimistic or pessimistic?" asked Schefter.
Forte's canned public relations answer comes next:
"I'm a very optimistic guy, so going into this weekend I'm very optimistic that it will get done."
Schefter shifts his questioning towards getting the deal done and Forte getting into training camp on time.
"How do you think this will end up, and when do you think this will end up?"
Forte's bland response comes:
"I think, hopefully, that it ends up well, and when? Hopefully by the 16th."
Next comes the most contentious part of the interview between Forte and Schefter when Schefter is more direct and very stern with his question. Schefter refuses to let Forte off the hook with the next question.
"What happens if it doesn't get done by Monday?" he asked.
Forte's response: "I think we all know what happens by then."
Schefter responds: "What happens?"
Forte: "I think we all know."
Schefter presses, "I actually don't; would we not see you in training camp?"
Forte's answer belies the mood and lack of optimism for the entire contract negotiation with absolutely no response. Forte sits quietly, shakes his head with sort of a shoulder-shrug type of emotion, then continues to sit quietly.
Absolutely no answer from Forte—dead silence to Schefter's direct line of questioning.
Forte's response sums up the entire contract negotiations over the last year. There has been nothing said from either side during these negotiations.
Any hint of optimism has given way to the continued drama, with the deadline to sign an extension now a mere three days away.
Interview source: The content of this interview was taken from the NFL Live Broadcast on ESPN that occurred at 4:00 p.m. EST.