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Agent: Saints center Olin Kreutz walks away from team

By Don Pompei

Chicago Tribune

LAST UPDATED: 08:52 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2011

A little more than two months after closing the door on the Bears, Olin Kreutz has closed the door on the Saints.

Kreutz decided he didn’t want to play anymore Thursday, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein.

And the Saints’ stance on Kreutz might have been had a factor in his decision as well. NFL sources said the team had shopped him before the trading deadline on Tuesday but found no takers.

When Kreutz was injured with a knee sprain, the team liked what it saw of replacement Brian De la Puente, a 26-year-old journeyman. De la Puente will replace Kreutz in the starting lineup, according to Saints coach Sean Payton.

Bartelstein said this has been brewing for a couple of weeks.

“His energy wasn’t quite the same,” he said. “He called me Tuesday morning and said, ’I’m not feeling it, not having a good time, my passion is not where needs to be. If I don’t have that, I can’t play.’ “

When Bartelstein first told the Saints on Wednesday, he said Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis tried to talk Kreutz into continuing his career. Kreutz was given the day off Wednesday. On Thursday, he made his decision final.

“It catches you off guard a little bit,” Loomis told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “We liked having him on our team, and what he represents and what he’s done throughout his career. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be here. But look, we’re better for having had Olin Kreutz here.”

If Kreutz is done, he finishes a decorated career that included six Pro Bowl appearances and four all pro-team selections. Moreover, he will be remembered as one of the greatest warriors and leaders of his generation. He also was voted to the all decade team for the 2000s.

At 34, he wasn’t the same player he once was though.

“It’s always difficult, especially when you talk about a player who I think is a hall of fame center,” Payton said. “I think the challenge for all of us when the train begins to slow down and you begin to maybe feel like it’s that time — and make no mistake, that happens for every player, every coach, every owner — there’s a lot of emotions involved in that.”

Kreutz signed a one-year deal worth $2 million with the Saints in August after turning down $4 million from the Bears. His contract with the Saints is guaranteed, but Kreutz won’t collect it because quitting was his choice.

He will be put on the “did not report” list, which waives his guarantee.

Bartelstein said Kreutz will not sign retirement papers yet. In the event he changes his mind, he can still come back.

“But I think in his mind, he’s retired,” Bartelstein said. “After 14 years, he was just mentally worn out.” 

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akuman808 wrote:
A very good player and an even better human being. A class act from Saint Louis to the NO Saints. Best of luck Olin in your future endevours. Heh, interested in possibly coaching??? There maybe something soon in Manoa.
on October 21,2011 | 08:22AM
entrkn wrote:
I wonder if Kreutz might be interested in returning to Hawaii to coach...
on October 21,2011 | 08:53AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
A true sportsman -- plays for the love of the game, not a paycheck, even though it's a huge paycheck. Olin comes from good stock, the Kreutz and Perry families, and the fruit falleth not far from the tree. I'm sure he will have good luck in everything he does in the future.
on October 21,2011 | 09:43AM
The_Dude_Abides wrote:
So he's quitting mid-season because he doesn't "feel" like playing anymore? Honor the terms of your contract as you agreed to do and fulfill your responsibilities to your teammates.
on October 21,2011 | 09:54AM
flyinbob wrote:
"Missed two games with an injury" after starting 137. Sounds like a serious injury...when you're a 37 yr old pro football player, any injury is serious. If he leaves, his position can be filled with another player.
on October 21,2011 | 11:00AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Everybody knows when it is time to go. It is not only professional, itʻs a personal choice. You gotta respect his decision. Good luck to him on any future ventures.
on October 21,2011 | 11:29AM
kainalu wrote:
Sort of left the Saints in a lurch, considering they made that $2 million dollar investment counting on him for this season.
on October 21,2011 | 12:19PM
SOLID3 wrote:
Quit? Wow! I enjoyed watching him since high school but Wow! Quit? There are so many who would give anything to be in that position to make a living at something you love to do, I just don't get how you can lose the love for something that has been good to you and has provided for you for life. It would have been better to have finish the season playing or not and be the kind of team mate younger kids can follow. I know that he has been through some battles in the trenches and his body says that's it but QUIT? WOW! God bless Olin, you represented Hawaii football and the toughness that is played here.
on October 21,2011 | 04:13PM
ethan wrote:
According to ESPN, Olin Kreutz did not sign a signing bonus. His contract was based on "games played". The Saints have no re-course to force him to play. They are only obligated to pay him for games played. I believe his heart is in Chicago. "GO DAWGS", BEAT STANFORD!!!
on October 21,2011 | 05:00PM
bulldog1 wrote:
Best wishes to Olin. He made us proud.
on October 21,2011 | 06:16PM
Charliegrunt wrote:
In today's world, where honor and ethics seem to be such rarities, it's uplifting to find someone like Olin Kreutz who bodies those attributes. Twice, he stayed with the Bears despite being offered larger contracts by other teams. The Bears did not show the same loyalty and consideration when he asked for a before this season. Their foolishness and loss. With the Saints, he refused to be placed on the injured reserve list, and placed himself on the "Quit" list, saying, "If I don't play, I should take the pay." How many of you critics would do the same? As a fellow Crusader alumni, I'm proud of you Olin, and wish you the best in all your endeavors. Most of all, peace, in whatever you decide to do.
on October 22,2011 | 06:59AM
KeepDaCountryCountry wrote:
Olin has to be one of the best to ever come out of Hawaii, he has made Hawaii proud, best of luck for your future.
on October 22,2011 | 10:38AM
Paahana5159 wrote:
Awesome.....Olin has been a great idol and leader all his days of playing football...Its time he take a step back and take care of himself and his family and life moves on.....We all appreciated watching him for 14 years, its time for Olin to watch the others play football....Olin will be happy in anything he chosen to do....Good Luck # 57
on October 23,2011 | 05:39AM
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