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NFL committed to China game, but Bears want home games at home

Bears chairman George McCaskey. (Sun-Times)

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Bears chairman George McCaskey may be a notable member of the NFL’s international committee, but that doesn’t mean he’s open to having home games played in another country.

“The commissioner wants various points of views on the various committees, and I don’t think just because you’re on the international committee doesn’t mean you take whatever the international agenda may be lock, stock and barrel,” McCaskey said Wednesday after the NFL owners meeting concluded. “We want to play home games in Chicago, and we think Bears fans deserve that.”

The Bears played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London in October 2011, but the Bucs were the home team. Is McCaskey interested at all in having a home game played internationally?

“Not very,” he said.

The NFL, though, is committed to having a regular-season played game in China in 2018. The Los Angeles Rams likely will be the home team, McCaskey said.

“We had a great presentation from the commissioner about how we need to take the game global,” McCaskey said. “It’s an ambitious undertaking. You’re seeing it in London, a very measured approach, seeing if we can build fan avidity. China specifically and Asia generally is a huge market, and something we feel we can tap in to. We’re playing three games in London this year. We’re playing a game in Mexico City this year and committed to playing a game in China in 2018.”

McCaskey said the NFL is thoroughly investigating issues in China, including pollution levels.

“They’re looking into all those factors just like they are similar factors for Mexico City,” he said. “They want to make sure that all questions are resolved and we can have a good competitive game in a safe environment.”

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com