The dog days of the offseason are finally behind us now that training camp is underway, just in time for our countdown of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time to really heat up. As we get closer to the season opener, we get closer to naming the #1 Chicago Bear of all time.
One of the longest tenured Chicago Bears of all time, center Olin Kreutz, checks in at #24 on our list of the Top 100 Chicago Bears of all time. The Bears drafted Kreutz out of the University of Washington in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Kreutz was widely regarded as the best center going into the draft, but still wasn’t selected until the third round.
Kreutz had to bide his time, sitting behind Casey Wiegmann his rookie season, Dave Wannstedt’s final season as head coach. He took over as the starter in his second season in 1999, Dick Jauron‘s first season as head coach for the Bears. The offensive line from left to right was Blake Brockermeyer, Todd Perry, Kreutz, Chris Villarrial and James “Big Cat” Williams. The Bears were still a work in progress during Olin’s early days. It wasn’t until 2001 that the Bears made the playoffs, but Kreutz was a staple and the anchor of the Bears offensive line.
A major blemish on Kreutz’s tenure with the Bears was an off-field incident with teammate Fred Miller. The two line-mates got into an altercation and Kreutz broke Miller’s jaw after a day at the shooting range in 2005.