Former Bears center Olin Kreutz works out at the Saints’ training facility on Friday. | Chris Graythen~Getty Images
Updated: September 7, 2011 12:39AM
Last weekend, Olin Kreutz told the Sun-Times he was “leaning toward retirement” after his tenure with the Bears officially ended.
But Kreutz will play a 14th NFL season, after all.
On Friday, Kreutz signed a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints and spurned more lucrative offers from other clubs.
The Bears’ final offer was one-year for $4 million. Kreutz will make close to $4 million in total, including incentives, with the Saints. But Kreutz’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said the club’s salary-cap standing “hampered them.”
“This wasn’t about the money,” Bartelstein said. “There were two other teams that offered considerably more guaranteed money [than the Saints].
“People roll their eyes when a player says, ‘It’s not about the money.’ But Olin is a different guy, and he’s shown in the past it wasn’t just about money.”
Kreutz has turned down more money before to remain with the Bears. But after he and the club couldn’t agree on a contract, the Bears moved on and signed Chris Spencer to a two-year, $6 million contract.
“Everything is a possibility right now,” Kreutz told the Sun-Times on Sunday. “I would say I’m leaning more toward retirement.”
Asked why, Kreutz said, “The easiest way to put it is, it’s always been the Bears. If it didn’t work, it didn’t work.
“I did bust my tail this offseason,” he said later, “but I busted it thinking I was going to play for the Bears.”
After a rigorous offseason of work, Kreutz drew interest from a handful of teams in need of a center.
The Saints were in the market because they lost Jonathan Goodwin, a one-time Pro Bowl selection who signed with the San Francisco 49ers.
“He thought this was the best place for him, at this point in his career, to win a Super Bowl,” Bartelstein said.
Kreutz had a flight out of New Orleans on Friday morning, but he decided not to leave without a deal.
“He actually had a flight out this morning, and he never got on it,” Saints head coach Sean Payton told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.