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Matt Forte makes debut in team drills

By Luis Tirado Jr.
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) sits in front of defensive back Kendall James (36) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) sits in front of defensive back Kendall James (36) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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As the New York Jets prepare for more preseason action, they got some good news with the return of running back Matt Forte to team drills in training camp.

When the New York Jets acquired running back Matt Forte via free agency this offseason due to the void left by Chris Ivory, everyone was ecstatic for what he brings to the table. He’s a smart veteran that brings leadership and a keen ability at making big plays either through the ground or air.

Related Story: Can Matt Forte make us forget Chris Ivory?

Only problem is, Forte is coming back from a nagging hamstring injury. It’s an injury that the Jets are wisely not trying to rush Forte back from since they need him healthy and ready to go once the regular season arrives.

There is no denying the impact Forte will bring once he’s in the backfield. In his career so far, Forte has totaled 8,602 rushing yards, 2,035 rushes, 45 touchdowns and a 4.2 yards per attempt average.

Forte also is a solid receiving threat as numerous times in his career with the Chicago Bears, he was key on big third down conversions thanks to his skill-set. To date he’s totaled 4,116 receiving yards, 487 receptions and 19 touchdowns. Most impressive is Forte’s average per reception which is 8.5 yards.

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That kind of production would be a fantastic dimension to have on offense of the Jets.

Throughout the offseason, Forte has been missing in action but this past Wednesday, he was able to finally participate in team drills with the Jets.

It’s a great sight to see since Forte by all accounts should be ready to go come Week 1 of the regular season when the Jets welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to MetLife Stadium.

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will undoubtedly use Forte in various different plays to get defenses guessing what kind of damage he will unleash but it’s important he’s healthy for consistency.

Head coach Todd Bowles recently had a press conference in which he gave a snapshot on Forte’s debut in training camp. Here’s what he had to say, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:

On if it was good to have Matt Forte back in team drills…

It was good to see him getting in shape. We got him some reps today, first time taking team reps. Hopefully, that won’t have any ill effects tomorrow and we’ll go from there.

On how close Forte is to being 100 percent…

He took some reps today. He’s still got some ways to go but it’s encouraging to see.

On how Forte looked at practice…

It was good to see him out there running around. I think he’s got to get into some football shape. They weren’t tackling or really hitting him. He was about three quarters speed. We look forward to him getting better. If he doesn’t have any setbacks tomorrow, then we’ll move forward.

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Forte will more than likely not see any preseason football action but this is a great start of getting him back into a good rhythm. He’s a veteran of eight years in the NFL and has always been labeled a workhorse for how much hard work and preparation he does week in, week out. Now it’s his time to get acclimated back into the mix of things and be ready once the games that actually matter arrive.

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