The mood was somewhat somber here at ONU, as the players trickled in and out of the cafeteria.
While many stars often beeline past reporters, several of them stopped to comment on Olin Kreutz, who will not be returning for a 14th consecutive season with the Bears.
"It's sad," linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "I learned a lot from Olin.
"I don't play o-line but just watching him as a rookie and watching the way he works, plays hurt, plays injured, never complains. He just practices and does his job. It's too bad we couldn't get it done."
That's the thing.
Usually, a team has an offensive and defensive leader. Sometimes, there's one on special teams.
At Halas Hall, though, there was one.
Urlacher is the unquestioned leader of the defense, but he was reverent when talking about Kreutz.
Asked who will fill Kreutz's leadership role, Urlacher said, "No one.
"No one's going to be like he was, I'll tell you that much. It's going to be a lot of guys who will have to do it. We'll get it done somehow."
Among offensive linemen, Roberto Garza would appear to take over the group.
"I'm the old guy now, you know?" said Garza, 32. "I've been here the longest and been around a great leader. Tough to fill his shoes, but you've got to step in to the role that's asked."
But several players said there's no shortage of leadership on the Bears, noting it's a veteran team. But what about a need for a vocal one?
"That stuff doesn't really mean to much to me," Urlacher said. "The rah-rah guys; we've never had any guys like that, who run around, yapping their mouths all the time. We just have guys who go out there and do their jobs."