Here is a transcript of general manager Jerry Angelo's comments on center Olin Kreutz, who will not return for a 14th NFL season with the Bears.
Obviously, the real disappointing news comes with the loss of Olin Kreutz. I first want to say, from my personal experience of being with Olin, through most of his career, he embodies what a football player is. I have the highest respect for him.
The reason I'm in this business, and why we're all in this business, are because of players like Olin Kreutz.
Great legacy, certainly very, very disappointing, that he chose not to accept our final offer. His decision. He thought about it. We did the best we could do, given that we had a lot to do, and felt that we gave him a fair offer.
He chose to go in another direction. I told him if he thought long and hard on it - and I know he did - I was hoping he may change his mind. His representation, in particular Mark Bartelstein, did a great job. Mark and I had a lot of dialogue.
Obviously, we differed in some areas, in how we see fair, and fair sometimes is a nebulous word. But, very, very sad, very, very disappointing. But I know this in our sport. It's not about any one player. It's not about me. It about he team.
I told Olin, and I told his agent, if we can't get this done, in a certain time frame, then we need to move on, because it is about the team. We can't lose our options.
We talked to a potential player in the morning. Hew as very interested. We wanted to get back with him in the afternoon. Two more teams are now in it, and the price has already gone up.
It's very, very difficult. It's a line we had to walk. We had to make decision. As tough a decision as it is, we have to move on - as a football team. So, again, a great player. A sad day for the Chicago Bears. For all of us.
We wish Olin nothing but the best, he and his family.
ON IMPACT IN THE LOCKER ROOM: It just lets you how revered he was. 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.
IF $500,000 DIFFERENCE WAS ACCURATE: It was accurate. Again, we negotiated in good faith. They saw it differently, and I have to respect that and they have to respect our position. It's not about one person.
There are a lot of moving parts.
It's a big jigsaw puzzle, on how everything fits. And you have to put value on each piece, and we did, and you have to do your best.
You're not going to win them all. Is it going to be a loss? Yeah, it's going to be a loss.
We have to regroup.
IF SPENCER INTEREST SPEED THINGS UP: Yes. Absolutely, because there were several players, in particular him [Spencer]. Things were moving. There was a dormant period, and now things have picked up. As things pick up, the price of business picks up as well.
CONTINUITY CONCERNS ALONG O-LINE: It will be Bob. Come on? We're not putting our heads in the sand.
It's going to be. But, there's going to be growing pains. We're going to see things we didn't see.
There is some continuity from the experience, that some of the players had, and hopefully we'll see them take a step. But it's hard to predict but that's why we play the game.
ADD MORE PLAYERS ON O-LINE: Hey, it's tough. These offensive linemen are tough to find. We got a good nucleus of young guys with traits we look for, but they got to come together. We can't just run up and down the starting line, get a guy with a few games under his belt, and think that's the answer. They got to come together.
We like our young players. We need to develop some of them. How are you going to develop them if you don't play them? And if you don't play them, then how do they know you believe in them?
It's a Catch 22.
We brought in an experienced center, who is in the prime of his career. That's the best we could do. Everybody has an opinion: they need this, they need that. Well, tell me who you want. Who should we look at? Give me names. Don't tell me about our problems. Give me solutions. I'm in the solution business.
Not identifying the problems. You guys do a great job of identifying our problems. How about a few solutions.
HOW MUCH HE TAKES INTO ACCOUNT, HOW PLAYERS REACT: 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 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.
Long after I'm forgotten, he's going to be long remembered, as well he should be.