Lovie Smith made it well known on Friday that the Bears have every intention of signing free agent center Olin Kreutz to a fourth - and likely final - contract.
Kreutz is a 13-year veteran and "anchor of [the] team," as Loive put it to the media from the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
"Your wife knows that she's wanted, right?" Smith hypothetically asked the media. "Mine does. And Olin [also] knows that he's wanted."
Sure, Kreutz may be looking toward the tail-end of his NFL career as a player, but he's still a vital part of the Bears' offensive live moving forward.
Consistency is king for an o-line, and Kreuz's knowledge will only help a group of young guys develop into the players the Bears will need when Kreutz does decide to call it a career.
Earlier this month, we received a report that the Baltimore Ravens could be interested in the Bears' free agent center, but Kreutz has expressed a desire to remain in Chicago; until the day he dies, by the way he puts it..."I'd love to play for the Chicago Bears forever," Kreutz said in a 2010 interview.
Given the fact that Kreutz will turn 34 before the '11 season begins, the Bears must make guard/center a priority this offseason. To put it simply, Kreutz's replacement needs to start his apprenticeship, like, yesterday...
"Olin is very important to what we do," Lovie said. "I know he's without a contract right now, but I think Olin knows that he's wanted. That's not even really a question."
As far as a timeline is concerned, we have no idea right now if a deal can be made before March fourth, the NFL/NFLPA labor negotiations deadline.
Keep in mind that the afore mentioned deadline is truthfully of no consequence, should the Bears not get a deal done by then.
Expect Olin Kreutz to be your center in 2011.