Chicago Sun-Times

Jerry Angelo comments on Olin Kreutz

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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.
We'll see.

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.

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5 Comments

It's tough to be a fan when Angelo is still employed with the team. $500k for leadership? I would take that any day.

Let me ask this of the Bears GM if your so far under the cap why so cheap for a player you just gushed over. Telling us about his irreplaceable value and leadership yet your actions speak differently. Yes he was a little long in the tooth but who are going to bring in that has more bite than Kreutz. The comment on developing young talent, what ever, how many players have you signed the past years who didn't develop and turn to good to great players else where. You guys couldn't develop film at a one hour Walgreens machine.

You can't be sentimental in the NFL for very long and that is really what the issue is here. Kreutz was going to play maybe one more year and then retire. There is no given he would be able to play this year. Probably would, but it is entirely possible that he would have given Tice a tough decision on letting him continue to start over one of the younger players they have been developing.

This is not as big a deal in the real world we carry in our head as the sentimental one we carry in our heart.

I read what his agent said on a pay cut, but by my math the Bears offered him almost a $1 milliion raise over last year. He is a declining veteran in a market that is adjusting down in veteran contract amounts this year. I don't think anybody really expected this to go on for more than one more year.

Now this looks like a money decision, not a performance issue. Is it really? He just said he had plenty of money, but pulled the plug over $500,000. I think if they had said take it or leave it at 4.5 million, Olin might have said $5 million.

I think a great Bear player gets to walk away with an offer on the table and his dignity intact. It's OK by me.

MS,

It's not about being sentimental, though it's always good to have a heart when having one doesn't hurt. This is about 1) being cheap (a lousy $500K when your team is $38 million under the salary cap), 2) being loyal to a player who stayed with the Bears when he could've gotten more money elsewhere, 3) letting a starter at a key position go when you have no one to take his place (I know the Bears signed another center, but he's so bad that the Bears are saying he'll have to compete with Garza! You're dead wrong that Tice would have had to make a decision on him, the rookie they have as a backup is nowhere near ready to start, if he ever will be), and 4) letting probably the team's biggest leader go.

Is Spencer better than Kruetz? Time will tell. I do take issue with what Jerry said about finding offensive linemen. Solutions? Using Jerry's logic that means that the reason the Bears haven't picked up free agents or haven't drafted very many linemen over the past few years is because there are none out there. Hmmmm, do the other teams in the league know that there are no linemen out there?

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 31, 2011 6:09 PM.

Lovie Smith talks about Olin Kreutz and Chris Spencer was the previous entry in this blog.

Olin Kreutz's agent breaks down talks with the Bears is the next entry in this blog.

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