Chicago Bears 53-man Battle Royale: Olin Kreutz

Brett SoleskyCorrespondent IMay 26, 2009

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 22: Members of the Chicago Bear offensive line including Olin Kreutz #57, Roberto Garza #63 and John Tait #76 line-up in front of the Green Bay Packer defense on December 22, 2008 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Packers 20-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

If only the Bears had 53 Olin Kreutz type of players on the roster, a long time experienced veteran who plays with a ton of heart and determination. Kreutz’s play has always epitomized the way a Chicago Bears team member should be.

He has been mean, nasty, gutty, and hard-working. The consummate professional, it's a damn shame he is nearing the end of his career. Kreutz is a multi-year Pro Bowl selection and has been the constant unyielding presence on the O-Line for over a decade.

Now in the twilight of his career, you hope he can be a coach on the line grooming the young pups for the years after Olin. Josh Beekman looks to be the heir apparent but is nothing like Kreutz. Kreutz is a leader in every sense of the often over-used term. If anyone is going to demand and get accountability from teammates, it is he.

Now with Green Bay moving to the 3-4 defense, Kreutz’s experience is even more invaluable, because if there is anyone that is going to slow down rookie B.J Raji, who seems to already have punched his ticket to Canton the way some analysts talk, it will be Kreutz.

Nothing like a crusty old veteran, in a rivalry game no less, to be the guy to take the wind out of a rookie’s sail. This is a very plausible scenario because, well, Raji is still a rookie. This is a game that plays right into Kreutz’s hands because he is an underrated performer with his age, but still knows enough to beat a rookie.

The nice thing about Kreutz is he hasn’t given any indication, at least publicly, that he’s ready to call it a career any time soon. Also good offensive lineman tend to stick around longer than usual.

Another advantage is Kreutz hasn’t showed any signs of breaking down because of injuries. He’s been the picture of health throughout most of his career. He’s missed only eight games in his career due to injury, but only one game in the past eight seasons.

You wonder when this old man will call it a career. Not one for speculation, I think it’s safe to say that given his tenure as a Chicago Bear, Kreutz has earned the right to decide on his own terms. Here’s hoping he’s around for a few more years and has the chance to wind up with a retired jersey number in Chicago.