Running back Matt Forte insists he was not overworked in his rookie season last year.
BOURBONNAIS - Featured running back Matt Forte has been conspicuous by his absence on most running plays in team drills.
But he shot down any implications that he wasn't healthy enough to participate because of the hamstring injury that sidelined him during OTAs.
Offensive coordinator Ron Turner said earlier that the team wanted to be cautious to avoid a reinjury, but Forte said he's at full strength.
"One, zero, zero. 100 percent," he said.
Considering how much of a workhorse Forte was last year as a rookie, when he had 379 touches (316 carries, 63 catches), it makes sense not to overwork him.
"You don't want to kill everybody in camp," said the most productive rookie rusher in franchise history. "You see other guys take off, too. I do what the coaches tell me to do. It's a long season."
Forte dismissed any talk of being overworked last season.
"I was used more in college than I was used last year," he said, "so it wasn't any big deal to me."
As a senior at Tulane, Forte rushed for 2,127 yards on 361 carries. He says he has to resist the desire to carry the load and stay on the field for every snap.
"You have to fight it because you know it's a long season," he said, "and you have to last the whole season."
Different strokes: Even-keeled future Hall of Fame left tackle Orlando Pace and center Olin Kreutz, the aggressive and vocal six-time Pro Bowler, aren't anything alike, but they will be the key elements of the offensive line.
"We're probably on two different extremes, but it works for us," Pace said. "I've always been a guy that's kind of laid-back and a lead-by-example type of guy. He's one of those vocal guys. I can adjust, and I can fit in just about anywhere."
What Pace and Kreutz do have in common is experience. Pace is in his 13th season, Kreutz his 12th.
"We played in a few Pro Bowls together," said Pace, a seven-time selection. "One thing about me and Olin, we've been in the league for a while and we can relate to a lot of stuff.
"We just talk about 'back in the day,' the way things used to be, you know, the way old men talk about football. That's almost what we do every day just to get ourselves through camp."
Sweating it out: Nose tackle Marcus Harrison said he hopes to be down to his assigned playing weight of 309 pounds and be cleared to leave the non-football-injury list and rejoin his teammates at practice by Saturday.
"Of course I would have liked for him to been able to practice the first day," coach Lovie Smith said. "Marcus is a good player. He's getting close. You guys have seen him off to the side working out."
In this, his second, season, Harrison was expected to battle veterans Dusty Dvoracek and Anthony Adams for the starting job.
"Every day he misses it's hurting him because there's great competition at the nose position," Smith said. (So) I'm not worried a whole lot about him not being on the football field. Our football team has to move on."