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Justin Fields Says Grass at Bears' Soldier Field vs. Chiefs 'Wasn't the Best'

Adam WellsAugust 13, 2022

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

While the Chicago Bears got a 19-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday's preseason opener for both clubs, much of the attention was on the playing surface at Soldier Field.

JC Tretter, NFL Players Association president, posted an image of the grass and called for "new testing metrics" after the league approved the surface for play:

JC Tretter @JCTretter

The NFL said that this field met minimum testing standards. 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. <a href="https://t.co/Vh1NDgLQBk">pic.twitter.com/Vh1NDgLQBk</a>

Bears quarterback Justin Fields told reporters after the game that the grass at least was better than it was earlier in the week.

"It's kind of always been like that. ... I'm just glad it was better than earlier this week because that wasn't the best. ... To be honest, last year I used our home field as an advantage because I knew how our grass was," he said.

It wasn't a surprise that the field was in poor condition Saturday. Cairo Santos, who is entering his third straight season as Chicago's kicker, addressed the situation Tuesday.

"Especially Week 1, our first game of the season—I've seen better," Santos told reporters. "It's just what we have to deal with. The less of a problem you make it in your mind, it helps you overcome it and just go."

Santos also said he has had to find poorly maintained parks near his home in Florida to mimic the experience of kicking at Soldier Field.

"The ball flies different," he said. "It's not super even all the time. ... It's important to put yourself in that situation."

The Bears are trying to get a new stadium built in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The team signed a purchase agreement for Arlington International Racecourse last year.

Bears president Ted Phillips said in January that completing the sale could last "maybe into the first quarter of 2023."

Last month, the city of Chicago proposed options to renovate Soldier Field, including rebuilding the end zones with columns to support a dome structure or modifying the stadium to become a multipurpose venue to host soccer matches, concerts and other events.

Soldier Field is the oldest active stadium in the NFL, having opened in 1924. The Bears didn't begin playing there until 1971.

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