Not Another “End of an Era” Column: Bears Quit Kreutz

| July 31st, 2011

I don’t know anything about Chris Spencer, last season’s sixteen-game starter at center for the Seattle Seahawks and apparently the new starting center for the Chicago Bears.  Reviews are mixed, some are negative, but he’s a professional center who’ll prevent the Bears from having to line up Garza, Williams or some other member of Our Gang in the middle of the line.

Olin Kreutz provided intangibles, I understand that.  He was the leader of the huddle, leader of the locker room.  I’ve heard it described that he led the offensive linemen like a de facto mafia don.  And so yes, a particular era has ended with the Chicago Bears. 

But Olin Kreutz was not very good anymore and the offensive line he led was one of the worst in football.  If Kreutz were a don and the o-line were his family, one of the other units certainly would have had him whacked in the showers.  The NFL, with its strict salary cap, is not a league where teams can afford to enlist the services of an individual as a reward for longtime loyalty or to placate a fanbase that likes the guy more for what he’s done off the field (the Fred Miller incident) than what he’s done on it over the last four years.

The Bears organization never wanted Kreutz back.  If they did, he’d be back.  With no other teams making an offer to the former Pro Bowler, it wouldn’t have taken more than a ten minute negotiation.  And if the entire teams wants him back so badly and only 500k separated player and team, where were all the offers of restructuring salaries we see across the league in these scenarios?

A planned change took place.  And its a change that opens the huddle to be led by the man who should lead it: the quarterback.  It’s Cutler’s offense now, make no mistake about it.

So will Chris Spencer be an improvement over Kreutz?  I don’t know.  But I’m certain the middle of the line, lacking push and often toughness in 2010, will not be any worse.  This, to me, was not a move TO Spencer.  It was a move AWAY from Kreutz.