Bears nearing decision time on Kreutz, 13 others
By Neil Hayes firstname.lastname@example.org February 26, 2011 9:53PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
INDIANAPOLIS — Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said he will begin meeting with the coaching staff and making roster decisions starting next week. It should be a busy process with 14 unrestricted free agents, including veteran center Olin Kreutz, who played a critical role in the offensive line turning things around last season.
The Bears are high on Edwin Williams, whom they signed off the Washington Redskins’ practice squad last season, and guard Roberto Garza could shift to center, but Kreutz is the only experienced center on the roster. The 13-year veteran likely will be back for at least a transition year or two.
“Every day I’ve been here, Olin Kreutz has been here,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “I believe in him. He’s the anchor of our team, our team leader. Not offense, defense, special teams. Our team leader. So he’s very important to what we do. I know he’s without a contract right now, but I think Olin knows that he’s wanted, and that’s not really even a question.”
Linebackers Pisa Tinoisamoa and Nick Roach, defensive tackle Anthony Adams, punter Brad Maynard, safety Danieal Manning, receiver Rashied Davis and special-teams ace Corey Graham also will be unrestricted free agents.
“We would like to bring as many of the players back as possible,” Smith said. “Of course, finances will have a lot to do with that.”
Happy either way
Martez Wilson said the Bears were one of three teams that have interviewed him at the combine. That’s fine with the former Illinois linebacker, who wouldn’t mind doing what fellow Simeon graduate Derrick Rose is doing — playing for his hometown team.
“If I could, it would be great to play for a team I grew up rooting for,” he said. “But no matter who drafts me, I’ll be happy.”
Wilson is ranked among the top inside linebackers in the 2011 draft class after leading the Illini with 112 tackles last season.