AL HAMNIK: Bears, Bulls in 'giving' spirit this 2012-13 season

2012-12-18T17:45:00Z 2013-01-22T20:05:10Z AL HAMNIK: Bears, Bulls in 'giving' spirit this 2012-13 seasonAl Hamnik Times Columnist
December 18, 2012 5:45 pm  • 

It's the season for giving, but this is ridiculous.

Think about Chicago's three most underachieving, overpaid professional athletes at the moment, and they've got to be the Bears' Matt Forte and the Bulls' Rip Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich.

Anyone disagree? I didn't think so.

Forte moaned and groaned last summer about a contract extension and got a four-year deal worth $30 million, including a $4 million signing bonus.

But he hasn't been much of a factor on an 8-6 Bears team that's lost five of its last six games and could miss the playoffs for the fifth time since 2006.

Forte has 903 rushing yards, but only three touchdowns. His receiving numbers are down with the acquisition of Brandon Marshall, and the Bears seem to forget about him in the second half of games.

Sunday's 21-13 loss to Green Bay was typical.

Forte had 28 yards on his first three carries, 37 yards after four, and 58 yards on 13 rushes at the half with the Packers up 14-7.

Second half, Forte had seven yards on 11 carries.

He's never been the bulldozer-type back who will slam through from a few yards away, the reason Michael Bush was signed, but Forte should be allowed to play four quarters, based on his salary.

This last several weeks, Forte seems resigned to his fate, to the fate of his team, and has given off this air of "I don't give a damn anymore."

Is the new paper responsible for his indifference?

"When we're on the goal line, we need to score seven points instead of three," he said of a frustrating trend throughout the season.

If it's not Robbie Gould or Olindo Mare salvaging a stalled drive, it's Bush getting the call, and often being stopped in his tracks.

"On the goal line, the offensive line has got to get movement so I can look for a hole and try to hit it," Forte said, using that excuse instead of Mike Tice's unimaginative play-calling or his own shortcomings.

Forte did mention all the stupid penalties and turnovers that have ended promising drives.

"Been shooting ourselves in the foot every time we move the ball the last six, seven weeks," he said.

That brings me to Hamilton and Hinrich, a pair of over-the-hill players lucky to find work.

Hamilton signed a two-year, $10 million contract last season as his body was already breaking down.

As of Tuesday, he had appeared in only 43 of the Bulls' 89 regular-season games dating back to 2011-12 and currently is sidelined with a foot injury.

Hinrich's game, meanwhile, has slipped like a pair of cheap socks.

He was signed out of desperation after Derrick Rose blew out his knee in the playoffs.

Presently, Hinrich is battling knee problems and his playing time and contributions have been limited.

The Bulls are giving him $8 million over two seasons — in return for 6.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.

Ho. Ho. Ho. The joke's on them.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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