Center of attention

It takes a lot to sideline durable C Olin Kreutz, but an ankle injury he incurred last weekend against the San Diego Chargers and is now questionable on the injury list. Chances are Kreutz will play, but if not Terrance Metcalf or Josh Warner would start in his place.

"We don't know which of the two of us will be starting, but the coaches will be giving out that information by the end of the week," Josh Warner said.

Both Warner and Terrence Metcalf have been practicing at Kreutz's position and are ready to step in if called.

"I understand what is involved in being a center," said Metcalf, who was out with a broken finger for the first five games of the regular season. "It's something that I feel comfortable with. Center is a position with enormous responsibility. You really have to be a leader of the offense. I feel very confident in my ability to get the job done."

Metcalf compiled a noteworthy record during a five-year career at Ole Miss. Finishing his college career as a first team All-American; Metcalf did not allow a single quarterback sack while starting at LT during his junior and senior seasons. He was acquired by the Bears during the second round of the 2002 draft and earned a position in goal-line offense situations and kick off returns.

Warner, a two-year NFL Europe veteran, was the first player in SUNY Brockport history to earn All-American honors, which he accomplished during his senior year. He signed with the Bears in January of 2002, sitting out his rookie season of 2001 after being released by the New York Giants.

Warner started at LG for the Berlin Thunder and also saw action at center during the NFL Europe season. He had significant playing time during World Bowl X, which the Berlin Thunder won. In 2003,Warner played in all but two regular season games for the Bears after his NFL debut against the San Francisco 49ers. In Seattle, he lined as a third tight end in goal line situations and on special teams. Last weekend at home against San Diego, Warner played on the FG and PAT units.

"I am familiar with the position of center," Warner said. "I had several starts there when I was in NFL Europe. That was also a position that I took frequently during practices. I feel very comfortable with it. If I have to go in during the game against Detroit, then I certainly plan to be ready."

Both Metcalf and Warner have spent considerable time this fall learning plays and watching game film, preparing to understudy Olin Kreutz if necessary.

"I've got all he calls down by now," Warner said. "I can lead the offense. It's something that we've been working on for several months."

Does Metcalf feel equally prepared?

"I pride myself on my versatility," he said. "I feel that I can play just about any position in the offensive line. I have been in football for a long time now and I understand very well just exactly how things work. If I am not able to fill in wherever I'm needed, then I shouldn't be here."


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