When Friday's press conference ended, Lovie Smith went out into a hallway and I asked him how important Olin Kreutz is to the offensive line moving forward.
The 13-year veteran is an unrestricted free agent. Although he is obviously on the downside of his career, he played a critical role in the offensive line turning things around last season. Although the Bears like Edwin Williams, and veteran Roberto Garza can play center in a pinch, there isn't a center with any real experience on the roster, which would lead you to believe that Kreutz will be back for at least a transition year or two.
In fact, given all that, Kreutz will likely have some leverage heading into negotiations.
"Every day I've been here, Olin Kreutz has been here," Smith said. "I believe in him. He's the anchor of our team, our team leader. Not offense, defense, special teams. Our team leader. So he's very important to what we do. I know he's without a contract right now, but I think Olin knows that he's wanted and that's not really even a question."
Then Lovie looked at me and asked: "Are you married?"
I nodded. For 18 years, in fact.
"And your wife knows that she's wanted, right? Mine does," he continued. "Olin knows that he's wanted."