Veteran athletes often say they’ll be ready to call it a career when they lose their passion playing the game they love.

For some, that day never comes (ahem, Brett Favre).

And for others, it comes when you least expect it — smack in the middle of the NFL season.

New Orleans Saints center Olin Kreutz has left the team because he’s “not feeling it” anymore.

The 34-year-old veteran lineman’s agent, Mark Barltelstein told the Times-Picayune it was just that simple.

“He decided, ‘If I can’t bring that same passion every day to work, I’m not gonna just sit here and collect a paycheck,’” Bartelstein said. “That’s the way he is. Olin’s a little different than most guys. People say all the time that it’s not about the money. That’s really how it is with him. It never has been.”

Kreutz’s sudden departure allows the Saints to get out of paying the guaranteed portion of his contract — one he somewhat reluctantly signed after failing to re-negotiate a deal to stay with the Chicago Bears.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection, who has been dealing with an MCL sprain in his left knee, offered to take a pay cut to stay with the Bears, but eventually inked a one-year deal with New Orleans.

“It catches you off guard a little bit,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis said. “We liked having him on our team, and what he represents and what he’s done throughout his career. It’s unfortunate that he won’t be here. But, look, we’re better for having had Olin Kreutz here.”

Kreutz has not officially decided to retire, accoring to Bartelstein, but he will likely be waived from the team’s 53-main roster in the coming days.

Kreutz missed the Saints’ Week 5 and 6 games but started last week in their 26-20 loss at Tampa Bay. Backup center Brian de la Puente played well in Kreutz’s absence and will fill the void on Sunday when the Saints host the 0-6 Colts.