Agent: Olin Kreutz is drawing interest
BY SEAN JENSEN AND MARK POTASH email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org August 4, 2011 11:18PM
Despite talk of retirement last weekend, former Bears center Olin Kreutz now seems likely to find a new home. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
Updated: September 6, 2011 12:44AM
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — While Olin Kreutz told the Sun-Times on Saturday he was “leaning more toward retirement,” the former Bears center now appears to be leaning toward playing again.
Kreutz’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said a “group of teams” has expressed interest in Kreutz, whose main stipulation is that any club he joins be a contender.
“As I said all along, if he gets a championship-contending type team, he’s going to be really interested,” Bartelstein said, “and I think we’re going to get that.
“There are teams that are inquiring at that level. Do I think something will happen? I think there’s a good chance something will happen. It’s definitely moving in that direction.”
Bartelstein declined to comment on any of the clubs interested, although the Baltimore Ravens are among the contending teams in need of a center right now because Matt Birk has an injured left knee. NFL Network reported that Kreutz is visiting the New Orleans Saints.
Kreutz said Saturday he’s in excellent shape after a rigorous offseason in which he was able to build instead of rehab.
“We trained together this whole offseason,” Bears offensive lineman Roberto Garza said. “He looks and feels great.”
If Kreutz plays, it would be his 14th NFL season.
On Saturday, it didn’t look like that would happen.
“I just found out that the Bears don’t want me,” he told the Sun-Times. “But I always had a feeling that my time was coming to an end. I did bust my tail this offseason, but I busted it thinking I was going to play for the Bears.”
Back in action
The NFL players ratified the new 10-year collective-bargaining agreement Thursday, allowing players signed since the lockout ended to practice with their teams.
Wide receivers Roy Williams and Sam Hurd, defensive linemen Anthony Adams, Amobi Okoye and Vernon Gholston, center Chris Spencer, linebacker Nick Roach, cornerback Corey Graham, punter Adam Podlesh and running back Marion Barber were among the newly eligible players to participate in practice at Olivet Nazarene University.
Second-year defensive end Corey Wootton, the Northwestern product, was one of two players mentioned by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli when Marinelli met the media Thursday.
‘‘I like what Wootton has done so far in camp,’’ Marinelli said. ‘‘He’s really trimmed himself down. Looks quick. Looks fast.’’
Coming right along
The offensive line is a huge question mark, but the familiarity with Mike Martz’s offense is expected to pay dividends this season.
‘‘It’s just the comfort level of the guys coming back, especially for Jay [Cutler], with all of his reads and everything,’’ tight end Kellen Davis said. ‘‘I know he feels more comfortable. I know I feel a lot more comfortable and I’m assuming the offensive line does to.’’
It might be a leap of faith to promote Major Wright to the starting strong safety spot vacated by Danieal Manning, who signed with the Houston Texans. But Marinelli liked what he saw last season.
‘‘He played quite a bit last year,’’ Marinelli said. ‘‘And he’s an excellent tackler. He’s got good ball skills. Plays in space well. Usually that second year in our system is when guys make a big step. So we take these guys, take them all together and work with them and the cream will rise.’’