Olin Kreutz questions George McCaskey's character in spat over claim Bears offered him $15/hour to coach

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  • Olin Kreutz
    American football player, offensive lineman, center
  • Harry Hiestand
    American football player and coach
  • George McCaskey
    American football executive

Olin Kreutz earned more than $40 million over the course of his final two contracts with the the Chicago Bears.

The 13-year center in Chicago who made six Pro Bowls before retiring from the NFL in 2011 said the Bears offered him another job in 2018 helping then-offensive line coach Harry Hiestand with player development. Per Kreutz, the offer came with a significant pay cut.

“The last time they offered me a job they offered me $15 an hour,” Kreutz told 670 The Score last week.

Wait, what?

"I wouldn't make that up," Kreutz continued. "That's the way they do business. Those are things that have to change. ...

"Harry wanted me to come in there and help with the offensive line development, help coach offensive line. I would only be there player hours, was my understanding. They offered me $15 an hour to come in there as an independent contractor. That's exactly what they did."

To be clear, $15 an hour is minimum wage in Chicago. It was $12 an hour in 2018. Kreutz didn't take the job. He also said that the offer coming from the Bears "didn't shock me."

McCaskey responds

On Monday, Bears chairman George McCaskey didn't flat out deny Kreutz's claim. But he made a strong insinuation that Kreutz wasn't being completely truthful.

"I've learned over the years to take just about anything that Olin says with a grain of salt," McCaskey said. "I look forward to hearing that story again and hope he includes it in his Hall of Fame induction speech. 

"That's the way it is sometimes with Olin. You don't get the whole story. And Olin knows what the story is."

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30:  Chariman George McCaskey of the Chicago Bears watches a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the tunnel
at Soldier Field on September 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 48-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
George McCaskey implied on Monday that Olin Kreutz wasn't completely truthful. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Kreutz equates McCaskey's statement to fighting words

McCaskey declined to divulge "the whole story." But Kreutz was back on the radio Monday afternoon with a response to McCaskey's statement. He told 670 The Score: "If that man would have said that to my face, we would have had a problem."

“I think what George was trying to tell you there at that point in the press conference was he doesn’t like me." Kreutz said. … "I understand that George doesn’t like me. He doesn’t like me as a person. He doesn’t think I’m a good person and he thinks I’m a liar."

Kreutz added that he called people in the Bears organization to confirm that he got his side of the story right. 

“I called Harry Hiestand and he confirms the story to me," Kreutz continued. "I called [then-general manager] Ryan Pace, and I talked to Ryan Pace about it. That’s what guys do. Guys who are leaders, guys who are in charge, guys who are worried about their character. They call people and actually talk to them.

“What George McCaskey should have said right there — because maybe the story didn’t get to him — what he should have said is ‘maybe I need to talk to Harry and Ryan about what happened with Olin, maybe this was a misunderstanding.’ If he had any respect for me, he would say that.”

McCaskey chided Bears fans over 'Fire Nagy' chants aimed at son

McCaskey, who took over the role of Bears chairman in 2011 that his father Ed McCaskey formerly held, addressed several topics on Monday, including the firing of Pace and head coach Matt Nagy at the conclusion of a 6-11 season. 

He scolded Bears fans who started a "fire Nagy" chant during one of Nagy's son's high school football games. In doing so, he invoked Parker Dickerson, the 12-year-old son of former ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson, who died of cancer in December. Parker also lost his mother Caitlin Dickerson to cancer in 2019.

"Parker Dickerson is about the same age as Matt Nagy's sons," McCaskey said. "An NFL head coach understands and accepts that he'll be subjected to a fair amount of criticism and that unfortunately, some of it will be personal. Coaches' children do not strike the same bargain."

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