Kreutz’s Agent: Bears’ Ultimatum ‘Caught Us Off Guard’
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(WSCR) One day after the Bears ended their relationship with long-time center Olin Kreutz, the 13-year veteran’s agent, Mark Bartlestein, joined the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score to tell their side of the story.
“These negotiations, they get emotional,” Bartlestein said. “We kind of knew going into it, it wasn’t going to be easy. The process was a little frustrating for us. We thought that there was a deal that could have been done, but the Bears, they got to make decisions for what’s best for their team.”
After negotiating for a few days, the Bears approached Kreutz with an ultimatum Saturday afternoon: One-year, $4 million. Take it or leave it. Kreutz had one hour to make a decision and he decided to leave the offer on the table.
“It just didn’t sit well with Olin,” Bartlestein said. “He didn’t want to feel pressured like that because we didn’t feel like we were that far away from each other. And emotions get going and you know the way Olin is, he kind of wears his heart on his sleeve. It just got to the point where the Bears felt like they needed to do something else and that’s their prerogative.”
“Something else” turned out to be center Chris Spencer, who the Bears signed to a two-year deal Sunday.
When asked why he thought the Bears gave Kreutz such a stern ultimatum after 13 years, Bartlestein’s only explanation was that he thought they were afraid they would lose Spencer.
“It just sort of caught us off guard,” Bartlestein said, adding that he sent a Bears an offer similar to what the team wanted Saturday morning before they received the ultimatum. “My feeling on it was: If you know Olin wants to be there, then we don’t need to worry about (Spencer) because at the end of the day, we’ll get a deal done,” Bartlestein said.
“On Saturday morning I actually thought we were going to get something done and then it all just kind of blew up Saturday afternoon.”
One thing was clear throughout the whole process: Kreutz wanted to be a Bear. Now that he won’t be a Bear this season, the center could decide to retire and Bartlestein confirmed that retirement is a possibility for his client.
“I think Olin is primed to have a great season, but he’s got to make a decision on if there’s a situation out there thats worth it for him to pick up and go to,” Bartlestein said. “If he finds that situation then I think he’ll do it and if he doesn’t, then he probably won’t. He doesn’t need to play to make a living. He’s going to play because he finds the right spot.”