Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011
Posted: 11:05 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The number is different, 50 instead of the 57 hes worn since coming into the NFL in 1998 as a third-round pick of the Bears. And so is the uniform: the New Orleans Saints instead of the Bears.

One word described it, as far as the former teammates of Olin Kreutz are concerned:

Weird.

Its been weird, said Roberto Garza, now at center because negotiations didnt get a deal done to keep Kreutz in Chicago in late July. We got a chance to watch a couple of games with him out there. Its still Olin, flying around, hitting people and its a little weird to see him in that No. 50. But you know, thats the NFL I guess.

The contract situation doesnt warrant rehashing; the Bears offered him a one-year deal, Kreutz wanted more (how much more is a subject of some dispute but not really important anymore), they couldnt reach a compromise, and Kreutz signed with the Saints for substantially less than the Bears offered.

He wasnt happy to leave. The Bears werent happy he wasnt coming back, perhaps a little more so because the market for Chris Spencer dictated a two-year deal worth 6 million, more than Kreutz was looking for in his one year.

He embodies what a football player is, GM Jerry Angelo said. I have the highest respect for him. The reason that Im in this business and why were all in this business is because of players like Olin Kreutz.

 

Brian Urlacher has been facing Kreutz only in training camp, because No. 1s dont practice against No. 1s since 2001, the offseason after Urlacher moved to middle linebacker. Now he will be seeing Kreutz when it counts.

Like Roberto Garza said, No. 50 looks weird on him, Urlacher said. I watched him Thursday night against Green Bay and I watched him throughout the preseason. It just looks like a different jersey.

It will indeed be different, for both sides, on Sunday. This one has been years, literally, in the making.

Coach Forte?

Running back Matt Forte put another chip in the pot Sunday in making the case for what he believes his new contract should be. He rushed for 68 yards on 16 carries (4.3 average) and led the Bears with five receptions for an additional 90 yards, 56 of those taking a screen pass into the end zone for a TD. The 158 yards marked the fifth-highest game total of his career.

He also added coach to his resume.

The Bears placed fullback Tyler Clutts on the active roster despite only being signed Wednesday. Somewhat surprisingly, Clutts had a major role a Fortes lead blocker in an offense that hed only had a few days to absorb. It is an offense that is universally acknowledged to be difficult, with players still saying they are adjusting to it after a year in the system.

But Clutts had help. Right behind him, in fact.

Matt is like a coach on the field, and hes right behind me, Clutts said. So any question I have, I just give him a look or hell check with me, and we communicate back and forth.

And the coaching staff did a good job of not putting me in situations that could be disastrous on my part.

Wake up

Sports Illustrateds Peter King advises Dont sleep on the Bears in his Monday Morning Quarterback column in the wake of Sundays games, noting that the Bears were in position to score on five of their first seven possessions. Not bad for a team known for its defense.

Peter only rates Green Bay, New England and Baltimore ahead of the Bears in his weekly power rankings.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.