If it wasn’t for a cancelled flight, Matt Forte might be suiting up for the New England Patriots instead of the New York Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Forte, of course, signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Jets in March to be New York’s lead running back. Forte admitted at the time that the Patriots showed some interest in him in free agency, but Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed just how close New England was to signing the two-time Pro Bowler.
Forte met with the Jets on the first day of free agency, but New York “did not rush to get the paperwork done,” a league source told Schefter, because they were concerned about the 30-year-old’s knee after his physical.
So, Forte took matters into his own hands. From Schefter:
“The delay made Forte antsy, and that evening, the 30-year-old running back headed to the airport to board a flight and sign with the Patriots, sources said.”
Unfortunately for New England, Forte’s game of hardball worked. Once the Jets heard Forte was flying to Boston, their “behavior changed,” and they wrote up Forte’s contract while overlooking “any concerns about his knee.” Forte signed the deal, and the rest is history.
The Patriots seem to be doing just fine without the veteran running back, though. New England is 8-2 despite the extended absence of pass-catching threat Dion Lewis and is averaging 118.3 rushing yards per game, tied for sixth in the NFL entering Sunday’s AFC East clash.
Forte is having a solid season in his own right, with 732 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns through 10 games. He has rushed for at least 80 yards in his last four games.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images