Soldier Field turf blasted by NFLPA officials following Bears Saturday preseason opener

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Soldier Field turf blasted by NFL officials following Bears Saturday preseason opener
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The NFL Players Association took aim at Saturday's turf conditions at Soldier Field, saying that league standards should be reevaluated.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If the grass is always greener on the other side, the turf troubles at Soldier Field, which have been an issue for years, could make a move to Arlington Heights look even more inviting for the Bears than ever.

Concerns about the turf conditions at the lakefront stadium once again hit the spotlight after the Bears' first preseason game Saturday. The head of the NFL players union was highly critical of the surface.

"I'm just glad it was better than what it was earlier this week because earlier this week it wasn't the best. Grass could definitely be better," said Bears Quarterback Justin Fields after the game Saturday.

The NFL said the field met the minimum testing standards, but the president of the NFL Players Association is calling for a reevaluation.

"We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on. We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better," JC Tretter said in a tweet accompanied by a photo of the torn-up field.

Retired, longtime Chicago Tribune sports reporter Fred Mitchell, who covered the Bears, said the timing of this last chapter of turf turmoil couldn't come at a worse time for the city, as it fights to convince the Bears not to move to the greener pastures offered by Arlington Heights.

RELATED | Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces 3 Soldier Field renovation options

"This continuing problem certainly doesn't enhance the options for the Bears as far as staying in Chicago, just another reason to move on," Mitchell said.

The problem stems in part from the use of Soldier Field for concerts and then the need to do repairs or re-sodding for football.

"It's still a bad situation, a bad surface to kick on compared to other places, Cairo Santos, the Bears kicker said on Wednesday.

The field follies too much of a hot political football that raises questions about whether the Bears really want to tackle the problem.

"You almost always follow the money," Mitchell said. "When it comes to decisions that are made and I have to believe that's the major issue."

The Bears new head coach Matt Eberflus fielded questions about the turf after Saturday's game against Kansas City.

"The playing surface was passed by the NFL, for us to be on, I thought it was firm and it was good, so that's where we'll leave it at," Eberflus said.

The Bears had no further comment on the conditions.

The contractor that takes care of the field did not respond to requests for comment or access to the field itself.

There are three more concerts between now and the September 11th Bears home opener against the San Francisco 49ers.