Saints center Kreutz walks away from team

METAIRIE, La. — Center Olin Kreutz has told the New Orleans Saints that his playing days are over, informing the team that he has lost his passion for football.

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

Kreutz, 34, was unavailable for comment.

The passion began to wane a few weeks ago, Bartelstein said, and earlier this week, Kreutz met with Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton.

Though Payton wouldn't discuss what was talked about in that meeting, he said there had been no hint that this was the decision Kreutz would eventually make.

"I think it probably manifested itself later as the season went on," Payton said. "And it was something we had a chance to discuss quite a bit this week."

Payton said the Saints won't make a roster move yet, meaning they're still at the 53-man limit.

For Kreutz, it's yet another change. In August, he couldn't agree to a new contract with Chicago, the only other NFL team he has played for, before signing a one-year, $2 million contract with the Saints.

Kreutz's deal with New Orleans didn't include a signing bonus, so he'll be paid only for the weeks he was on the 53-man roster while forgoing the rest of his contract.

That's not something that will bother Kreutz, his agent said.

"He could have stepped back with a guaranteed contract and collected the money but that's not him," Bartelstein said.

After starting the first three games with New Orleans, Kreutz missed two with an injury — ending a string of 137 consecutive starts. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and earned All Pro honors twice.

Meanwhile, Brian de la Puente, who started New Orleans' wins in Jacksonville and Carolina in place of Kreutz, will once again take over at center.


The Oakland Raiders brought in three free agent kickers for workouts Friday after Sebastian Janikowski missed his second straight practice with a sore left hamstring.

Dave Rayner, Ricky Schmitt and Rhys Lloyd took turns kicking field goals and kickoffs for nearly 30 minutes following practice while Raiders coach Hue Jackson and special teams coach John Fassel watched.

Janikowski, who tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal earlier this season, did not show up on Oakland's injury report Wednesday but has not worked out since.

Jackson said Thursday that he thought Janikowski would be fine but backtracked a day later and listed the kicker as questionable.

Janikowski has hit 12 of 13 field goal attempts this season. Five of his kicks have been from 50 yards or longer, with his lone miss coming from 56 yards.


Detroit running back Jahvid Best has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Atlanta because of a concussion, and the Lions also put running back Jerome Harrison on the reserve/non-football illness list after he was reportedly diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Coach Jim Schwartz said any details on Harrison's condition would have to come from the player. Citing NFL sources it did not identify, ESPN reported this week that Harrison's tumor was revealed when he had a physical after being dealt by Detroit to Philadelphia in a trade that was voided by that discovery.

The Detroit Free Press, citing teammates, reported that the running back was to have surgery Friday.


Andre Johnson will sit out Sunday's game at Tennessee as he continues to recover from a right hamstring injury.

The star receiver has missed the last two games since hurting his hamstring in a 17-10 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 2 and undergoing a minor procedure to heal the injury.

Coach Gary Kubiak says Johnson is "not where he needs to be right now," though Kubiak adds Johnson is healing faster than expected. Johnson sat out practice again Friday, but ran routes and caught passes from backup quarterback T.J. Yates on a separate field.

Kubiak says Johnson needs to take one more step in his recovery before the team will feel comfortable returning him to practice.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris says running back LaGarette Blount will not play against the Chicago Bears in London on Sunday.

Morris ruled out Blount again after he missed practice all week in London.

Blount took a hit on his left knee in a Week 5 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and missed the win over the New Orleans Saints.

Morris says center Jeff Faine was doubtful after missing practice this week with an arm injury. Wide receiver Sammie Stroughter will be a game-time decision.

The Bucs and Bears play at Wembley Stadium in the fifth straight annual overseas game in the British capital.

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