Olin Kreutz: Bears offered me a job at $15 an hour, they have to change how they do business

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Olin Kreutz played center for the Bears for 13 seasons and went to six Pro Bowls, and he has a message for team ownership if they want to change the franchise’s fortunes: Stop being cheapskates.

Kreutz said the Bears need to be willing to spend the money to bring in good people, and they currently aren’t. Kreutz cited his own example of being offered $15 an hour (which is currently the minimum wage in Chicago) to work with the team’s offensive linemen.

“The last time they offered me a job they offered me $15 an hour,” Kreutz said on 670 The Score. “That’s the way they do business. Those are the things that have to change.”

Kreutz said that in 2018, then-Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand wanted Kreutz to work with the offensive linemen, but the financial portion of the offer was insulting.

“Harry wanted me to come in and help with the offensive line development, help coach the offensive line,” he said. “They offered me $15 an hour to come in there as an independent contractor.”

Kreutz indicated that the Bears made a similarly lowball offer to Donovan Raiola, who did accept a job with the team but left this season to become the offensive line coach at Nebraska for a guaranteed salary of $325,000 a year.

If the Bears keep lowballing assistant coaches, then the Bears are going to keep having assistant coaches leave in the middle of the season to take college jobs. Kreutz is right that if the Bears keep doing business that way, they’re going to keep struggling to build a winning franchise.

106 responses to “Olin Kreutz: Bears offered me a job at $15 an hour, they have to change how they do business

  1. Seems like the guy who put his pride to the side and took the job for $15 an hour ended up making the right decision after all.

  2. This explains Miamis decades of ineptitude on the offensive line.

    Its league wide stupidity.

  3. Or they were like, you made millions upon millions from us, if you want to become a coach, you have to start off at the bottom like everyone else.

  4. I’m sure $15 was the starting pay and I’m sure the was plenty of room for growth. A lot of people would give up a better paying job to get thier foot in the door of an nfl team

  5. Shame on the Bears, but it makes you wonder how much money is in the Nebraska “golden ticket” well, to pay that kind of money and yet continue to lose.

  6. Jim McMahon called the Bears the team “where quarterbacks go to die.” With them offering assistant OL coaches $15/hour, one can see where McMahon might have meant that in a literal sense. He was a good to very good quarterback, especially for his time, but he fought injuries during his entire career with the Bears. Maybe this management attitude was part of the reason why.

  7. Now he knows how NFL cheerleaders feel when they have been given lowball salaries since their inception. Someone tell me they don’t put their work in to be paid better.

  8. Why does the OLine coach need your help? They are sending a message to him not you. They want to can him because he can’t do the job.

  9. If this is true, it is unbelievable! Hard to imagine, really. It would remind of the old days of Bucs initial ownership (not the Glazers) where the owner had pay vending machines for the players at their facility, and (in the days before cell phones) they had to pay for phone calls from their hotel rooms when they traveled for road games.

  10. Completely mind boggling! I’ve been die hard fan since 1965.Yet they pay Mike Glennon like what 45 million. I haven’t given up on them yet but it’s coming. I may have to jump ship until things change. I hate to say that but I’m tired of this. I’m really starting to like this Joe Burrow kid. Maybe it’s time to switch. This makes me sick to my stomach.I don’t live in Chicago these days for obvious reasons. The Bengals are looking better and better. At least they’re trying. Heartbreaking.

  11. I want to laugh but this is just sad (and revealing). Know pro teams across all sports tend to be cheap with their non player staff but this is beyond the pale. Good luck to them replacing Nagy if this is the culture.

  12. I’m sure the $15 an hour was an exaggeration- but yes, buy cheap, get cheap. Not the best way to run a business

  13. As if anyone is surprised that the top of Halas Hall is more concerned about revenue out than about winning but this is beyond silly.

  14. That’s insulting. However, you could suck it up for a year and absorb everything that you can and then use that job as a springboard into the college ranks for much more.

  15. There are 32 pro teams out there. The NFL is a small world. Everyone knows everyone. If someone thinks you’d be a good coach, they’ll offer you a lot of money. This isn’t on the Bears. What kind of offers are other teams making him? I mean, if you’re a free agent coach, talk to your agent. Ask him what kind of offers you’re getting. Winning has to do with your QB. For years the Bengals were cheap. Then they drafted Joe Burrow, but now they’re winning. The Bengals aren’t winning because they stopped being cheap. They’re winning because they got an elite QB. If Fields becomes an elite QB, the Bears will be in great shape. Cheap or not cheap.

  16. Let’s see, NFL O-line coach or washing dishes at the local pub? They’ll feed the dishwasher…

  17. Maybe they should offer Brian Urlacher $17 an hour to work with the linebackers. He’s a hall of famer so he should be worth a couple bucks more than minimum wage.

  18. I have a 65 year old woman who works part time at my company doing scanning. I pay her $18/hr and my wife said “make sure you pay her enough so she doesn’t leave”.

  19. And this is why the Bears routinely wind up with guys the caliber of Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. Experienced, capable guys with options want nothing to do with the McCaskeys and the product shows on the field year after year. Not a good look for this to come out just days before they start interviewing for a new head coach and possibly GM too.

  20. Bears cheapness goes back to George Halas.
    Ditka: George Halas “throws around nickels like manhole covers.”

  21. Man that is hard to comprehend. A team worth’s billion easy and they can’t offer a former great who bled for them for 13 years no more than minimum wage? Just sad.

  22. The bears are just like a whole lot of businesses. I make $18 and it’s simply not enough. You want good workers, pay them. You want production, pay your workers right and they’ll reward you. Simple as that.

  23. If they’re labeling the position as an independent contractor, that’s also part of the problem. That indicates you’re not officially part of the staff and not subject to team/league benefits as an employee. Kreutz was essentially told he’d be a “consultant” and $15/hour was his “fee”.

  24. So you’ve made millions in your career.
    And you’re so self important to work for a wage a lot of people wished they receive.

  25. Kreutz is too old school for todays guys. He would just end up beating the crap out of all of them.

  26. If you’re a Bears fan, it’s time to boycott the Bears and anything NFL related until the McCaskeys are shamed into selling this franchise to someone competent. Their incompetence has pretty much ruined my love of this sport and I have no interest in rooting for any other franchise. But I refuse to keep identifying as a Bears fan as long as they own this team. It’s like voluntarily putting a “Kick me” sign on my back every season.

  27. For that money they might be able to get Jay Cutler to come back and work with the QBs on leadership skills…

  28. We’ve known for years the Bears leadership doesn’t care about the quality of the product on the field. This isn’t surprising at all.

    Why do we expect owners to care about winning when the value of their franchise goes up every year regardless of wins?

  29. Wow, that is insulting. 325k sounds kinda high to be honest for an assistant in college, but OMG, 15$/hr with no benefits, to a hall of fame player to coach at the highest level?

  30. Now the other guy makes $150/hr.
    Good for him. And you get what you pay for. Has the Bears OL been good since the 80s or 90s?

  31. Obviously this problem starts at the top with the McCaskeys but Ted Phillips is the enforcer. They like him and won’t remove him because he is a bean counter and makes them a ton of money. This why even though it is necessary to clean house from Phillips on down, they won’t can him. Loved Olin when he played for the Bears but you could have paid him $1500 an hour and it wouldn’t have changed anything – he was a good offensive lineman, not a magician.

  32. I’m not sticking up for the Bears organization, but I wonder if this is kind of standard in that world for a 1st-time coaching assistant? Kind of like radio, where many folks work for free just to get in the door, then when they prove themselves, the money starts to come in and get much bigger. But even if so, a guy coming in with a 13- year history with the Bears has to get a little better than some coach’s kid with no resume. It’s a bad look, that’s for sure.

  33. I remember Jim Harbaugh taking the job as Head Football Coach at University of San Diego, a school that doesn’t offer scholarships, for nothing. After 2 years he became the head coach of Stanford, and then the 49ers.

  34. Entitled dummies don’t get it that these cheap or unpaid coaching opportunities give you invaluable experience. Lead to 325 K / year coaching job. You wanna coach or not? Lose the pride.

  35. Fun fact – Kreutz broke the jaw of a fellow teammate – TWICE! Once in college and once with the Bears.

  36. There were incentives tossed in: all the deep dish pizza you can eat, free bus rides to Arlington Horse Race Track, two free drinks at any bar in O’hare airport and free armed escort from Chicago Stadium to the Miricle Mile shopping. (weekdays only)

  37. George Halas was reputed to throw nickels around like manhole covers. Guess things have not changed with the Bears.

  38. They didn’t think you were worth more than that, Olin. Frankly they were right because what have you done in football?

  39. Finally someone said something.

    I don’t get why Lions and Bears fans keep going to games. Hit them in the pockets. Force the lazy owners to sell.

  40. Virginia has a story to tell about the time she tied an onion to her belt. Please hold line for your party.

  41. Its not just the Bears. Its a Chicago business mentality. Remember ownership broke up the Bulls because he said he didn’t like paying and he was winning championships.

  42. If you’ve driven on their roads, or have been to Soldier Field, you understand that being cheap is just part of the culture in Chicago.

  43. For those on this thread who keep talking about taking a job for nothing to lead into a better job, need to reconsider their stance on Olin Kreutz. I get your point if your some kid coming out of college who is a complete greenhorn. But Olin Kruetz, come on man! This dude battled in the trenches on the gridiron for many years and carved out a good NFL career. I’m pretty sure he knows the game inside and out. Remember, it was the Bears O-Line coach who reached out to him, Not the other way around. $15 an hour in todays economy is an insult.The Bears organization should be embarrassed.

  44. Remember there re a lot of the McCaskey family that has to get their share for doing nothing.

  45. I just read an article explaining you can make 52k a year on unemployment not working at all.

  46. In the real world, when you have no experience at position you are applying for, you start at the bottom. But seriously, that’s funny.

  47. At least this was a better story about the state of the Bears than the Brad Biggs article that spoke out of both sides of the mouth when ot came to what random league sources think is going to happen with Ryan Pace that everyone latched onto locally.

  48. When you want the billionaires to keep exploiting labor… The intentional result of the two parties having the media divide the people. Your grandparents would be ashamed. Only a couple generations left, wish I’d be around to see the end.

  49. Guy named Bill Belichick started his NFL coaching career in 1975 making $25. Per week. Minimum wage in 1975 was $2.10/hour ($84/week). 10 years later, he was the defensive coordinator for a team that won 2 Super Bowls. I wonder whatever became of that guy?

  50. I think the distinction may be the HC wasn’t the one offering the job and it was just an informal training session or two gig.If the HC really wanted him it would have been done.

  51. Hines Ward worked as a receivers coach as an unpaid intern at Steelers training camp in 2017. In 2019, he became a full time assistant coach with the Jets. He is currently the assistant head coach and receivers coach at Florida Atlantic University.

  52. The whole $15 an hour thing looks good for headlines but it was probably like a 10k for x amount of weeks offer

  53. Olin Kreutz is a little bit off his rocker. He’s made some pretty bizarre statements in the past. Too many hits to the head.

  54. NFL cheerleaders? They bring nothing to the game. If there was any legitimate reason for there to be NFL Cheerleaders then every team would have them.

  55. You know, that’s what I always said about the Patriots. Belichick comes in, adopts that same kind of pay structure not just for consultants but for assistant coaches. And what happened?

    Completely destroyed the franchise. Not sure why Kraft even kept him on.

  56. Unreal…You have got to be kidding…WOW…smh…This explains a whole lot about how The Bears do business and why they haven’t been winners. No matter what they say to their fans and public, ‘THEY’RE NOT COMMITTED’ and refuses to spend necessary resources to win!!!

  57. kneedragr says:
    January 8, 2022 at 8:43 am
    Wow, that is insulting. 325k sounds kinda high to be honest for an assistant in college, but OMG, 15$/hr with no benefits, to a hall of fame player to coach at the highest level?



  58. Do you suppose it’s possible that Olin was speaking metaphorically? I mean, using $15 an hour as a reference point synonymous with “a ridiculously low salary offer”? Sort of like saying, “someone treated me like a five year-old”?

  59. How many times have we all said something like, “I won’t work for peanuts”. Nobody took that to mean actual peanuts. I CAN imagine that he meant to say, “They offered me a job for minimum wage” and substituted “$15 per hour”.

  60. Come to Minnesota, Olin! Not only will they pay you more, but you’ll have an opportunity to be a part of, and learn from, the best coaching staff in the league!! Not to mention that you’ll be coaching the most talented offensive line in the game today (starters and backups, who would be starting on any other team) and you’re guaranteed to get a Super Bowl ring as part of the staff!! Make it happen!!

  61. That is a shocking level of disrespect esp. for the most important part of football — blocking. The GM should be trying to recruit the best OL coaches, not being cheap and hiring any dude off the street.

  62. Many of the coaches that are making millions, began their coaching careers as unpaid interns. They proved themselves, then started climbing the ladder. Ask Sean McVay how much his first NFL job paid. He probably could have made more money working at Taco Bell.

  63. “When you want the billionaires to keep exploiting labor… The intentional result of the two parties having the media divide the people. Your grandparents would be ashamed. Only a couple generations left, wish I’d be around to see the end.”…………..You said it.

  64. Bad teams are bad for a reason. Inept organizations like the Bears make up 80% of the NFL.

  65. I’m a retail manager at the 99 cents store, I can start Olin at 16 dollars an hr plus bonus.

  66. Y’all nearly unanimous on the side of the billionaires and against the working man… what a bleeping shock, lol… Self-respect is still something of great value to a very few of us. Bears will never succeed with these owners. Period. Bigger joke of a franchise at this point than the Admirals. NO one wants to play for this bunch.

  67. If true, pretty bad on the Bears org but Olin was stupid for not taking it anyway. He could have done that for a year and have that on his resume’ then find another job like the other guy did and be making real money.

  68. Sure $15.00/hr may not seem like much, but I understand they also threw in unlimited hot dogs from the concession stands during games. So…

  69. Contractor you say. There’s no way they could legally justify that designation to Dept. of Labor. Yet another way the NFL should be investigated for improper business practices. I wonder how many other teams are illegally exploiting that designation.

  70. Perhaps the Bears offered Kreutz what they thought he was worth as a coach. None of the other 31 teams came knocking.

  71. Kreutz’s point is that if they pay new coaches minimum wage type salaries where else are they pinching pennies? Your better teams have first class facilities…period. That even includes hiring the best chefs and nutritionists and those folks don’t come cheap. They have a commitment to be the best top to bottom. They understand that winning isn’t just about talent. It’s about being a winner in everything you do every day. If you own a billion dollar entity you should be smart enough to invest in it so that it grows in value and esteem. If you don’t you should be owner of a flag football team not an NFL team.

  72. both of those salaries are out of wack. says a lot about the shortcomings of the public and private sectors.

  73. It’s a PAID internship offer. Many NFL teams have had former players spend a season as UNPAID coaching interns. Some of those are now well-paid coaches in the NFL. Olin Kreutz hasn’t played in the past decade and has never coached. No NFL or college team would pay him a salary to coach.
    The Bears offered him an opportunity to build a coaching resume, with pay! Basically, a paid scholarship to coaching school. Why is this so insulting to anyone?

  74. The Bears will never be a viable franchise until the McCaskeys sell the team. The Bears are the money maker for the entire family. Virginia has 21 grandkids and 26 great grandkids. No other legitimate business interests except for the Bears. That is a LOT of mouths to feed, thus the $15 an hour offer. Sell the team to a legitimate business family and get out.

  75. footballfan72 says:
    January 8, 2022 at 6:23 am
    Now he knows how NFL cheerleaders feel when they have been given lowball salaries since their inception.

    I don’t think teams win or lose based on how their cheerleaders do.

  76. Its basically an internship offer, if he doesn’t like it- don’t take it instead of crying about it. There doesn’t seem to be a big market for him as a coach, so maybe if he can afford it he should consider it. That said, it wouldn’t hurt the Bears to offer a higher wage- just pay him an entry level salary and show some class. Both parties look sad here.

  77. I don’t believe Olin that they wanted him to be paid $15 a
    hour, this guy says stuff to get attention on the radio. He needs to be checked for CTE. He has a problem like everyone does with the owners.

  78. minime says:
    January 8, 2022 at 8:18 am
    So you’ve made millions in your career.
    And you’re so self important to work for a wage a lot of people wished they receive.
    Right – like when a player retires and a network hires them as a broadcaster, the network says “Well, you’ve earned millions, so how about we pay you $15 and hour?”

    It’s amazing to me how many commenters don’t get the lack of respect from the organization. Dude was an NFL lineman for 13 years – he’s not “entry level”, he’s what we would call a “subject matter expert”.

    They can afford to pay him a job commensurate with his experience. It’s not about his “pride”, it’s about the Bears openly insulting him to his face. They approached him and then offered him a ridiculous amount of money.

    If you think $15 an hour seems fair, then you have the right to be wrong. It’s not about you or the real world. If you work for a multi-billion-dollar company, they shouldn’t be penny pinching their hiring process.

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