The rain that swept through the Chicago area didn’t prevent the Bears from working outside during Day 2 of their rookie minicamp on Saturday.
It also was a good time for coach John Fox to defend the conditions of the fields at Halas Hall after former Bears safety Antrel Rolle criticized and blamed them for a serious knee injury he suffered last season.
“Again, we’re trying to get better at everything, including our fields,” Fox said when asked about Rolle’s comments. “I think they’re in a lot better shape this time this year than they were a year ago.
“Any time you come in and try to create a winning culture, I think the list is long, and we’re trying to improve in all areas.”
Rolle was released a day after the NFL draft concluded, and the Bears selected safeties Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson. Rolle, 33, appeared in only seven games last season because of a high-ankle sprain and medial collateral ligament injury in his knee.
He suffered his knee injury during a practice. After his release, Rolle said in interviews in the New York Post and on WSCR-670 AM that the fields at Halas Hall were to blame for it.
“There was so much tape on my ankle where it could barely move,” he said on the radio. “There were a lot of restrictions. I was just pretty much shuffling. I wasn’t even running. And I tried to change direction, and I slipped on the surface.
“Yeah, I think the surface had a whole lot to do with [my injury]. … The facilities are good in Chicago. The fields are just not as good.”
Fox said Saturday he didn’t hear any complaints from Rolle or any other player last season about the field conditions.
“Nothing that comes to mind, no,” he said.
But Fox said the Bears have done more to improve the conditions at Halas Hall, including re-sodding.
“Putting more time into it. More effort. We’ve re-sodded. Quite a bit of stuff,” Fox said. “Our guys are working very hard to make it better. It was pretty worn down. I think it was a pretty brutal winter I think the year before, so we had some catch up to do. Obviously, the warm weather, when it does hit, is helpful.”