Sunday was the second full day of training camp for the Bears in Bourbonnais, but almost of the news came off the field rather than on it. The biggest story of the day was Olin Kreutz’s departure. After a flurry of activity including the failed Kreutz deal, the Greg Olsen trade and ongoing negotiations with RB Matt Forte, not to mention 48 signings since Free Agency officially opened last week, Bears GM Jerry Angelo stepped to the podium to discuss the state of the team. Here’s Jerry on the Kreutz move (or lack thereof):
For a little more from Jerry vide0-wise, check back at the Bears’ website for an extended clip of Jerry.
Here are some more quotes from the Bears GM on the Kreutz situation:
On whether $500,000 is too small of a difference not to get a deal done:
“It goes beyond that. There’s more to it than just the dollar signs. It’s a big puzzle and you just can’t focus on one piece. It doesn’t work that way. It has to come together and we have to have a lot of things happening at a very fast pace. We didn’t have two months to draw things out, to be patient. We have to move now. I don’t have a crystal ball here. I have to deal with reality and I have to think about what? No. 1, the team. It’s about the team. This is what we’re built on, the team.”
This quote really tells me that the Bears didn’t want him around. Without saying it wasn’t about the money, he says it wasn’t about the money.
On whether he takes into account how Bears players will react to personnel moves:
“Hey, I do. But they didn’t hire me to be loved. They hired me to make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of the team. So that’s what it’s about people. This isn’t a wake. We’re sad. Nobody died. We wish [Kreutz] the best. He had a great career. Hey, long after I’m forgotten, he’s going to be long remembered and well he should be.”
I think ESPN North blogger Kevin Seifert does a pretty good job expressing what I’ve been trying to get across in my stance about Kreutz:
If this were March, and the lockout had never happened, I honestly think I would be applauding the Chicago Bears right now. Their decision to get younger at center would have been bold, well-timed and representative of an organization refusing to allow nostalgia to rule its football decisions.
Today, however, is July 31. Two training camp practices are already in the books, and the Bears will have at least two more before newly signed Chris Spencer can formally take over for veteran Olin Kreutz. If there were ever a time for a short-term, Band-Aid decision, it’s now. Instead, the Bears have taken on one of the most difficult post-lockout tasks imaginable: Transitioning a new center into a Mike Martz scheme during this summer’s compressed training camp and preseason, all while leaving their locker room at least temporarily rudderless.
National Football Post’s Matt Bowen is a little more blunt in his assessment.
As for Kreutz, he’s contemplating retirement, wanting to leave on his terms:
“I am sure I will have an opportunity,” Kreutz said Sunday night, hours after the team announced it had agreed to terms on a two-year deal with Seahawks castoff Chris Spencer to replace him. “I am just not sure if I want to play for anyone else. Retirement is definitely an option.”
“Everybody leaves and misses their teammates and misses the fun, but to leave on your own terms is something I’d like to do,” he said. “I don’t want anyone getting railroaded for why I left. I don’t want any of my old teammates feeling horrible that I am not there. This was always going to come to an end at some time.
“Upset isn’t the word. Surprised it happened. Surprised it went down that way. We all have to make decisions.”
I just hope for the Bears’ sake, it’s not a decision they’ll regret.
Thanks for the memories Olin! You will be missed!!!