First Brad Maynard and now Olin Kruetz. If I'm Patrick Mannelly I might start getting concerned because he is the only player who has been in Chicago since the 90's. After Mannelly, Brian Urlacher becomes and the most tenured player with the Bears.
$500,000 is what kept the Bears from resigning longtime center Olin Kruetz. Jerry Angelo was offering an one year deal worth $4 million while Olin was looking for $4.5 million. And because of that on Sunday the team announced they will not be resigning Olin and instead signed center Chris Spencer to a two year deal. Spencer has spent the last 6 season with the Seahawks. They drafted him with the 26th pick in the 2005 draft and he spent his early career at guard before taking over the centering duties in 2007. He replaced longtime Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck in Seattle and may have even bigger shoes to fill now replacing Olin.
But enough about the new guy let's focus on Olin. Kruetz took over the leadership of the line after Big Cat Williams left the Bears in 2002 and he really took over that mean streak that Big Cat had. The Bears drafted him in the 3rd round in 1998 and since then he has been to 6 Pro-Bowls and named to 4 All-Pro teams. That mean streak may have never been shown better then in 2005 season when he broke tackle Fred Miller's jaw at a rumored shooting range.
Most people would agree that the "C" means very little in most sports besides hockey but that wasn't the case with Olin. He was the leader on the field as well as in the locker room for these Bears. He was also named to the NFL All Decade team for the 2000s.
It truly is sad that his tenure here in Chicago has come to an end over in NFL terms a very cheap amount of money. He is undoubtedly the second greatest center in Bears history behind Jay Hilgenberg and he will be sorely missed by his fellow linemen, Mike Tice and maybe most importantly by quarterback Jay Cutler when he is getting knocked around by the likes of Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh twice a year.
Olin I wish you nothing but the best and your departure leaves a very bad taste in my mouth over some actually good signing by the Bears front office. Expect Kruetz to probably sign on with former Bears QB Jim Harabaugh and the 49ers.