Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

14 Nov 2005

Bears' Kreutz Breaks Miller's Jaw in Fight

Chicago offensive lineman Fred Miller missed Sunday's Bears game with a broken jaw. He initially told the team he broke his jaw in a fall in his home. Now he admits he broke it when teammate Olin Kreutz punched him. Personally, I would have bet on Miller in that fight -- he's the bigger guy, and he tends to rely on brute strength in his blocking, while Kreutz succeeds more on superior technique. I think this is my favorite sentence of the year:

"Olin and I don't have a problem with each other," said Miller, who has a steel plate in his jaw.

I dunno. I kinda think if I had a steel plate in my jaw because someone punched me, I'd have a problem with that person.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 14 Nov 2005

28 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2005, 7:43pm by Michael David Smith


by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:16pm

As a Bears fan, I find it encouraging that Miller collaborated on the cover-up, even sticking to the story after the truth started leaking out. That implies to me that there isn't a fundamental locker-room problem.

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:19pm

I kinda think if I had a steel plate in my jaw because someone punched me, I’d have a problem with that person.
Similarly, you'd think he wouldn't have a steel plate in his jaw if Kreutz didn't have a problem with him.

by Fred Miller (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:41pm

Look, we got really drunk and belligerent on whisky and beat each other up, and if we weren't insanely strong professional athletes we would have shrugged it off in the morning with a couple of bruises, but obviously we are insanely strong and bad things happened. Now can we please, please, please, not talk about this anymore? It's more than a little embarassing for both of us. At least we didn't end up with pictures of us drunk off our asses all over the internet like Kyle did.

by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:48pm

I think if I had a problem with someone, and then wound up with a steel plate in my jaw because of it, I'd re-evaluate what constitutes a problem too.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 11:57pm

There you have it, folks, tips on how to manage your personal problems from a guy named after a fictitious would-be serial killer :)

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 11:58pm

My problem with this is, Miller's the one with a plate in his jaw, and he had to apologize to the team and to Kreutz?

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 12:02am

Fred Miller got JACKED UP!!!!

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 12:16am

When I read he hurt himself in a fall in his home I knew that was BS. It has to be a pretty awkward fall for a guy to break his jaw, unless he's geriatric.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 12:39am

Can you imagine what would have happened if TO broke McNabb's jaw? He'd be on Death Row by now.

And if McNabb had broken Owens' jaw, he'd be up for sainthood in every major media outlet.

But Kreutz -- who has a record of anger issues -- breaks his linemate's jaw, sidelining him for two weeks at least, and he isn't suspended at all, much less four games. Whose conduct has been more detrimental to the team, huh?

by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 1:09am

They might not have missed miller vs the niners, but he's out for the Carolina game...

Wonder if they were drinking "Fred Miller's Beer".

by Sisyphus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 1:22am

Miller and Kreutz both have a reputation for having a bit of a mean streak so assigning blame to one or the other is a bit premature. Offensive linemen are a bit different in their nature and temperament and both of them were wrong no matter what actually happened. Linemen have to play for each other, nothing else works so they will get this straightened out not only between themselves but with every other offensive lineman on the team. Moreover neither of them is likely to comment on this or bring it up in public ever again. They both have to apologize to their teammates because they screwed up and then lied about it. By the way you bet on Kreutz because he is faster than Miller and more explosive.

by Al Davis (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 3:25am

I must find out when these two guys become free agants.

by Sam B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:11am

#4 Patrick Bateman? As in Prof. Patrick Bateman, the famous Cambridge behavioural scientist??

Mm. Probably not.

by Reuben and Cherise (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:07am

It isn't really a story unless Romanowski did it.. then it goes to Dateline!

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:49am

So Kreutz meets Michael Westbrook in the semi-finals, correct?

by ajn (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:58am

i guess titans fans aren't the only ones who hate fred miller. maybe kreutze was just tired of all the holding and false start penalties on third and short and thought a little shot to the chin might help fred get it under control...

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 11:24am

I don't really understand how teams work out discipline but it seems like it's usually on a case by case basis. Anyone remember what Steve Smith got for punching out a teammate in a film session? I have a hard time remembering but I don't think he lost any games.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 1:30pm

I think the reference to Patrick Bateman is from the film 'American Psycho'. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Whatever happened to Huey Lewis and The News, anyway?

by Chris I. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 3:53pm

I knew Miller's original story was BS, too.

According to a story in today's Chicago Tribune, Kreutz and Miller spent last Monday at an FBI shooting range in North Chicago. Miller for some unknown reason was apparently picking on Kreutz throughout the day. Tensions rose as more alcohol was consumed.

Later they went to a bar with some other Bears linemen. Someone threw a drink at someone else. It's unclear who swung first, but Kreutz landed the only punch. Miller's mouth was cut up pretty bad because he wears braces and he also lost a tooth.

Miller then lunged at Kreutz, striking him in the head with an unknown object. Kreutz suffered a cut that required double-digit stitches to close.

Miller, perhaps acknowledging that he provoked the fight, later apologized to Kreutz and the rest of the team. Kreutz was more circumspect about the impact of the incident, saying, "I don't if it will ever be completely gone, but we're over it. The team is the No. 1 thing, and we're going to try to move on."

This isn't the first time Kreutz has broken a teammate's jaw. As a sophomore at the University of Washington, he punched out Sekou Wiggs during spring practice.

Kreutz's mean streak is part of what makes him a perennial Pro Bowler, but this is too much. The Bears are rolling (well, sorta), and I hope this doesn't poison their team chemistry.

by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 4:40pm

This makes me want to know what really happened to Brian Griese a few years ago even more.

by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 4:44pm

Fred Miller has actually exceeded expectations so far. I don't even think he's been the most penalized lineman.

by Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 12:28pm

You guys don't actually think this situation is similar to the T.O. vs. every-other- teammate-he's-ever-had thing, do you? If it was, it would be all over the news. Kruetz and Miller are not the same 'team dividing' problem that T.O. is. Nor are they glory hogs. They handled an off the field problem the way 51 other Eagle players should have done months ago. Kruetz should be commended for being a leader, and puting Miller back in his place. Remember a couple truths; 1. Football is violent. 2. Sometimes guys punch each other. 3. Beer tastes good. 4. Ditka (silence please) would be proud of these guys.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 2:20pm

That may be the stupidest post I have ever read. A guy who is out of control enough that he breaks a teammate's jaw, apparently while drunk, is definitely doing damage to his team.

And he's doing more damage to his team that Owens did. Miller is a starting tackle, and he cannot play. If Orton gets flattened by Julius P. this weekend because Miller's backup isn't good enough to slow him down a little, then Kreutz will have done even more damage to the Bears.

And "Kreutz put him in his place" belongs on the grade school playground at best. Since no one knows what was said or done (except that alcohol and a firing range were involved), that statement has a whole pile of connotations that are best left alone.

Since the Bears seem to be a little smarter than the Eagles, though, they're not going to cut off their nose to spite their face. This whole situation makes it even more obvious how much Philly over-reacted to a loudmouth jerk.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/16/2005 - 2:44pm

Wow. Why would an offensive lineman even bother with braces during his career?

I think that if you punch someone hard enough to knock out a tooth despite the braces, break his jaw on top of that, and you don't have a problem with him, you have a pretty big problem yourself. Football is a violent sport, that's true. All the more reason to restrict injuries to the ones that happen on the field. Causing injury to a teammate is not a good thing.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 6:37pm

"Personally, I would have bet on Miller in that fight — he’s the bigger guy, and he tends to rely on brute strength in his blocking, while Kreutz succeeds more on superior technique."

MDS, I thought you had seen enough fighting to know that technique can win big over strength. How else to explain the career of Royce Gracie, especially his win over Dan Severn in UFC 4?

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 6:44pm

Yeah, I know, but Kreutz's technique as a blocker doesn't necessarily translate well into technique as a fighter. But, no doubt, knowing how to fight is more important than having a weight advantage, especially when we're talking about two guys in the 300-pound range. I'd like to see some kind of eight-man elimination tournament among NFL players. Michael Westbrook vs. Jarrod Bunch is the only time I know of that it's been tried. Who do you think would win? I'm guessing a linebacker.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 7:34pm

Probably the linebacker, but I might be tempted to go with a tight end, if we could get a really good one in there. They seem to have the best strenght/agility/reach combo while remaining absolutely ripped.

No, wait - special teams ace, because they would cheat. Imagine getting the New Orleans cock puncher into the competition, that could change the whole dynamic in a hurry.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 7:43pm

Yeah, if it were truly no holds barred, you've got to think a Logan Mankins or a Damione Lewis or a Steve Gleason would be an opponent no one would want to face. Gleason is a small guy (I mean, small for an NFL player -- still outweighs me by 50 pounds or so), but sometimes those small guys who aren't afraid to mix it up and fight dirty are the ones you fear most. I'm sure player contracts prohibit anything like mixed martial arts, but I'm surprised there haven't been more promotions of former players fighting. I'd watch.