Olin Kreutz not 'feeling it,' leaves Saints

Updated: October 22, 2011, 7:32 AM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

Saints center Olin Kreutz has left the team because he has lost his passion for the game of football, leaving a hole in middle of New Orleans' offensive line.

"He loves the games," said his agent, Mark Bartelstein. "He has to love the game. He just hasn't been feeling it."

The Saints will place Kreutz on the left-team list and then eventually release him. By doing that, the team will be able to get out of the guaranteed portion of his contract. Kreutz has been battling a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

"He called me on Monday and Tuesday and said, 'I don't know if I can keep on doing this,' " Bartelstein said on "The Waddle and Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "Went in and talked to (coach) Sean Payton and (general manager) Mickey Loomis and expressed it to them. They tried to talk him out of it. They wanted him to stay and he actually thought he was going to give it another whirl and called yesterday and said, 'I just know, it's not in my heart. I'm not going to keep collecting a check if I know deep inside me I can't bring what I need to bring to play every week.' "

This has been a tumultuous year for the 34-year-old center, who played the first 13 seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears but could not come to terms on a contract this offseason. Kreutz, a six-time Pro Bowl performer, had said he was willing to take a pay cut to stay in Chicago, but negotiations became public and messy and Kreutz finally signed a one-year deal with the Saints.

"I think there's probably some correlation to [how things went down with the Bears]," Bartelstein said. "It hurt him a lot the way it went down with the Bears. He wanted to finish his career with the Bears, so I think there's a part of it. But how much, it's hard to say."

Bartelstein said that Kreutz will not retire immediately.

"We're not going to file anything right now," he said. "I just never think it makes sense to do that right away. He's going to step back and spend time with his family. My guess is I'm not sure he'll play again, but we'll see. The Saints made it clear that if he changed his mind, they'd love to have him come back. But knowing Olin and the way he handles himself, I don't think that's going to happen. But we'll see."

Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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