Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher echoed the general sentiment of his teammates regarding the team's decision to not bring back center Olin Kreutz: He'll miss him. He wishes he was in camp. He respects everything he stood for. But the team will get over it.
''It's sad. I learned a lot from Olin,'' Urlacher said as he left the mess hall Monday at Bears' training camp in Boubonnais. ''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.''
Urlacher couldn't have been much more succinct when he was asked who will fill the leadership void left by Kreutz's absence.
''No one. No one's going to be like he was, I'll you that much,'' he said. ''It's going to be a lot of guys who will have to do it. We'll get it done somehow.
We're a veteran team. We have guys who will step up and fill that role. Offensive line will be different, because he was the guy over there for 13 years. We got [Roberto] Garza, and Frank [Omiyale] is there also.
Hopefully, [newcomer Chris] Spencer will do a good job of stepping in here. He might need a grace period for him but I'm sure he's going to do a good job.''
Urlacher, entering his 12th season in the NFL, is now the second-most tenured Bear after long-snapper Patrick Mannelly.
He didn't think the Bears really need a ''vocal leader'' in their locker room.
''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.''