October 21, 2011
One of the NFL's all-time great centers is walking away from the game. Olin Kreutz(notes), a six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All Pro, and member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s, has left the Saints.
According to his agent, Kreutz's passion for the game just wasn't there anymore. He'd rather walk away than keep getting paid, while feeling like he wasn't contributing. From Mike Triplett at the Times-Picayune:
"He decided, 'If I can't bring that same passion every day to work, I'm not gonna just sit here and collect a paycheck,'" [agent Mark] Bartelstein said. "That's the way he is. Olin's a little different than most guys. People say all the time that it's not about the money. That's really how it is with him. It never has been."
There are two different ways to frame this. There's the way his agent chose, which is to see Kreutz as an unselfish guy who won't take the team's money if he feels he isn't performing up to his own high standards. Given Kreutz's track record, that's probably the way I'd lean.
But I couldn't blame someone if they saw this as Kreutz bailing on his team. "Walking away" is another way of saying "quitting," and doing that six games into a season is pretty rare. It's not like he was playing at a level that's irreplaceable or something, but before a knee injury shelved him for a couple of games, he was the starting center. He also wore the captain's C.
Any way you want to see it, if this is indeed the end for Kreutz, in five years, he should be in Canton.
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