Running back Matt Forte won't be returning to the Chicago Bears, the only franchise he's ever know since joining the league as a first-round pick out of Tulane, the versatile ballcarrier announced on Friday.

"Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end," Forte wrote. "I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I'm excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!"

The Bears and GM Ryan Pace responded, thanking Forte for his eight season of work.

"We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season," Pace said, per "These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career." 

With Forte out in Chicago, it will be interesting to see where he lands. The New England Patriots have been touted as a possible destination, but 30-year-old running backs with limited speed - successful though they may have been in the NFL - tend to garner little in terms of money or years on new contracts.

Then again, if there's any team in the league that could make use of Forte's skills, in decline though they may be, it's the Pats and head coach Bill Belichick.

For the Bears, last year's fourth-round pick, Jeremy Langford, looks like "the guy" for now. Langford played well in Forte's stead last season when the longtime Bears starter went down with a knee injury. Langford racked up 537 yards on the ground and another 279 yards in the air and collected 7 total touchdowns. Even when Forte returned, the pair split duties in the Bears backfield.