Kreutz Taking Offseason in Stride

He may not have the eye-popping statistics or attention-grabbing highlights on SportsCenter, but Olin Kreutz is the unquestioned leader of the Bears locker room. Kreutz spent some time with Editor in Chief John Crist at this past weekend's Fan Convention, and the veteran center chatted about Cedric Benson's future, Lance Briggs' threats, and Tank Johnson's mistakes.

John Crist: Thomas Jones is out and Cedric Benson is in at tailback. Do you expect your running game to be remarkably different in 2007?

Olin Kreutz: We're going to find out just how physical Cedric can be with the ball this season with Thomas Jones out. I think that he has the skills to succeed.

JC: The circus surrounding Lance Briggs has been a big distraction this offseason. What's your take on his situation?

OK: About Lance, I just don't think about his situation at all. It's really none of my affair. It will all turn out the way it is supposed to if we just leave things alone. No matter what happens, he knows that I wish him only the best.

JC: You got some good news last week when Ruben Brown re-signed with the team. What does he bring to the offensive line that's so important?

OK: I'm really glad that Ruben's back. He's an important piece of our offense. You want a strong group of guys in there who know each other. That's what we've retained, and that will make a positive difference.

JC: You had your most successful season ever in a Bears uniform last season. What do you guys need to do better to make sure you win it all this time?

OK: Regarding next season, I'm ready for anything and I'm confident that we'll do well. The Super Bowl was a taste of what we can accomplish. Next time, we need to go in there and finish the job.

JC: Tank Johnson seems to have the support of the entire team despite his troubles. Why is he so universally beloved?

OK: Tank has our thoughts right now. We all make mistakes. He knows that we are behind him and will be here for him when all of this is over. It was an unfortunate situation, but now it is being played out. We on the team know what kind of a guy he is and are confident he'll come back better than before.

John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and Editor in Chief of To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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