Julius Peppers is coming back to play for the Green Bay Packers in 2016, and he wants a former teammate to join him.
According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, Peppers has been “trying to recruit” free-agent running back Matt Forte, who played with Peppers in Chicago from 2010-13.
Peppers left the Bears and signed with the Packers before the 2014 season. He’s produced 17.5 sacks over his two years in Green Bay, and he’ll now return for a third season and one last shot at chasing a Super Bowl ring.
Forte, the NFL’s leader in yards from scrimmage since 2008, could join Peppers’ quest for a championship with the Bears’ biggest rivals.
The Packers have a need at running back, as Eddie Lacy is spending his offseason getting in shape and backup James Starks is 30 years old and heading for free agency. A one-two punch of Lacy and Forte could be lethal, especially with Lacy’s ability to pound between the tackles and Forte’s productivity as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
It’s also possible a bargain could be had for general manager Ted Thompson.
Forte, 30, has said since the Super Bowl that he values going to a contender over money. An eight-year veteran, Forte has played in just two playoff games during his NFL career—with both coming during the 2010 season.
The Packers have been to the postseason seven straight years, with four division titles and a Super Bowl win. Only the New England Patriots have more total wins since 2009 than Green Bay.
Forte has often been linked to the Patriots, but don’t count out the Packers. With a former teammate on the roster, a need at running back and Forte chasing wins instead of dollars, everything could be in place for the veteran running back to follow Peppers’ path to Green Bay.