During the lockout, Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher made a strong pitch for the Bears to keep defensive tackle Anthony Adams and center Olin Kreutz. Adams is coming back, Kreutz isn’t.
And safety Chris Harris, a PFT favorite for his pull-no-punches candor, took to Twitter to react to the news that Kreutz won’t be back.
Said Harris on Twitter, “Olin Kreutz departure won’t sit well in the locker room for a few days.” Harris added that Kreutz is the “toughest player” that Harris has ever played with, and that he’s the “only guy I know who would play with a broken bone or multiple broken bones.”
G.M. Jerry Angelo seems to understand that there will be some short-term consternation, but he made it abundantly clear that he expects it to indeed be short term. “It just lets you how revered [Kreutz] was,” Angelo said. “You could put me first in line on that; he meant a lot to this football team. But, there comes a time, where there’s going to be closure. Nobody lives forever, nobody goes on forever. That’s just the nature of the business. This is the time. . . .
“[T]hey didn’t hire me to be loved,” Angelo later said. “They hired me to make decisions based on what’s in the best interests of the team. That’s what it’s about, people. Come on? This isn’t a wake. . . . We’re sad, but nobody died. We wish him the best. He had a great career.”
Meanwhile, Kreutz’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, has pointed to a final offer from the Bears as the player’s reason for moving on, and moving out. “The ultimatum [on Saturday] is ultimately what convinced Olin that they didn’t want him back,” Bartelstein told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “For a guy like this, who has played 13 years in the league, to draw a line in the sand? To me, it was like negotiating with a 4th-round draft pick.”
Angelo seemed to acknowledge that he told Bartelstein they needed to get the deal or move on, so that the Bears could pursue its options. And that’s exactly what has happened.
Though Angelo’s words come off as little harsh, he’s right. Each year, every NFL team must be willing to strip the name off the back of every player’s jersey and decide whether it’s in the best interests of the team, taking all factors into account including the player’s pay and the salary cap, to bring the player back.
UPDATE: Kreutz now says he’s considering retirement after rejecting a one-year, $4 million offer from the Bears. “That is a decision I am still making. I am sure I will have an opportunity,” Kreutz told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “I am just not sure if I want to play for anyone else.”