No Suspension for Kreutz or Miller

Lake Forest - The guy with the broken jaw apologized, while the guy who broke his jaw hardly seemed contrite.

"First of all I'd like to apologize to my teammates, and Olin (Kreutz), and my family," said right tackle Fred Miller, who suffered the fracture in an altercation with teammate Olin Kreutz last week. "There was an altercation between us two, something that got out of hand that shouldn't have. It was an unfortunate deal. Both of us could have handled it in a more mature (manner).

"We sat down with one another after the situation happened. We realize that this was something very stupid on both our parts, and it's not going to happen again, and we're going to move on and that'll be that."

The 6-foot-2, 292-pound Kreutz, who fractured the jaw of Sekou Wiggs while they were teammates at Washington, didn't apologize and wasn't sure about his future relationship with Miller or if the figurative wounds would heal.

"I don't know if it'll ever be completely gone," the eight-year veteran said, "but we're over it. The team is the No. 1 thing, and we're going to try to move on."

Miller, who had a metal plate inserted into his jaw to facilitate his recovery, was asked why he was the one apologizing.

"Just because it was immature and stupid," Miller said. "That's it."

That has led to speculation that the 6-foot-7, 320-pound 10-year veteran was the instigator.

The Bears will be without Miller for at least one more week, which could be crucial Sunday against Panthers left end Julius Peppers, one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.

Last Wednesday, Bears coach Lovie Smith said Miller suffered the injury in a fall at his home. According to Kreutz, he and Miller concocted that story to spare the team from distractions.

"The team had nothing to do with it, so we told the team that's what happened," Kreutz said. "They didn't have any clue until Friday. Me and Fred did have an altercation. Obviously we didn't want it to happen. Things went too far. We've talked about it, we're pretty much over it, and it's pretty much a done issue for us. We both understand what happened. We're both men; things got out of control."

"After the situation happened," Miller said, "our main focus was on the team. We didn't think that it needed to go any further than that. We didn't want to take away from what the team is doing this season.

"But seeing that things have gotten out, we feel that we need to clear the air and apologize to our teammates and say that Olin and I don't have a problem with each other. We're still going to go out there and play and work together. We're still going to go out on our regular nights and have dinner together as an offensive line."

The injury caused Miller to miss Sunday's 17-9 victory over the 49ers, ending his streak of 110 consecutive starts. Kreutz has started 47 straight games. He has missed just one game in five years, and that was seven days after an appendectomy.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said there would be no suspensions resulting from the fight, which he downplayed. But he left no doubt that fines would be forthcoming.

"We had a fight; not even a fight, there was an altercation," Smith said. "There's no more than that, nothing that warrants suspension. It warrants some type of discipline, which I'll do."

Smith said he was disappointed that he wasn't told the truth originally and rejected the notion that the team lied to the media.

"We for sure didn't lie to you or anyone else," Smith said. "I found out about it on the weekend, and I started dealing with it then. Guys make mistakes. Sometimes you say things to try to cover up something, and in the end, most of the time the truth comes out, which it did. Now we're admitting the truth of what happened, and we're going from there."

The 6-3 Bears hope their success and focus on holding first place in the NFC North will help them overcome their internal problems.

"We have a five-game winning streak," Smith said. "That's what we're really concentrating on. I have a brother; sometimes brothers fight. No more than that, and then you move on."


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