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Olin Kreutz loses passion for game, leaves Saints

Quarterback Drew Brees (9) talks with center Olin Kreutz (50) of the New Orleans Saints during practice at the Saints training facility on August 5, 2011 in Metairie, Louisiana.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

METAIRIE, La. - Center Olin Kreutz has informed the New Orleans Saints that he is leaving the team after losing his passion for football.

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Friday the 34-year-old Kreutz "has to feel really good about the passion he has got for the game and the love he has got for the game." Bartelstein says Kreutz felt that slipping away and "he's just not someone who can go to work every week and collect a paycheck."

In August, the 14-year veteran couldn't agree to a new contract with Chicago, the only other team he has played for, and signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Saints.

After starting the first three games with New Orleans, Kreutz missed two with an injury — ending a string of 137 consecutive starts.

The news is not a huge surprise considering Kreutz pondered hanging it up over the summer. CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson notes that in July, a week before signing with the Saints, Kreutz told the Chicago Tribune that "retirement is definitely an option." He also said that "Jerry [Angelo] has been good to me too. It felt like maybe it was time to move on. I just got that feeling. I have enough money. So the offer wasn't a big hurdle for me. It was a feel I had, just maybe they wanted to move on no matter what the offer was.

"I don't want to taint anyone. ...[The Bears] treated me good and I think I've played my ass off for them. I know negotiations are never pretty. Things are said and you can't take them personal, but you do get kind of a feel for where people stand and I just didn't get the right feel for it."