NFLPA president on Soldier Field turf: ‘NFL can and should do better’

The grass was so patchy that super-agent David Canter tweeted that Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Chiefs should have been canceled.

SHARE NFLPA president on Soldier Field turf: ‘NFL can and should do better’
The Soldier Field grass was patchy Saturday.

The Soldier Field grass was patchy Saturday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Pockmarked with dead spots and divots, the turf at Soldier Field would have made an aging public golf course blush Saturday. Nowhere was it more evident than the yardage stencils on the east side of the field, where dead spots competed with white chalk for attention.

The Bears submitted grass reports to the NFL all week and were told it met the standard. But NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter said it wasn’t good enough.

‘‘We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on,’’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘‘We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better.’’

Super-agent David Canter tweeted that the Bears’ preseason opener against the Chiefs should have been canceled.

‘‘Player safety should be tantamount to everything,’’ he wrote. ‘‘We know it’s a pipe dream but this isn’t safe.’’

Bears kicker Cairo Santos said Saturday was an improvement over the conditions in practice Tuesday at Soldier Field but still was unacceptable.

‘‘I think it’s reckless that we have a product of the league out there, big-time players on both teams out there, and it’s too bad if the field becomes an issue where there’s an injury and that star of the league is out for the season,’’ Santos told the Sun-Times. ‘‘And that can happen. It’s a reckless thing that they’re not taking care of it to the standards [of the players].’’

The Chicago Park District owns and operates the stadium. The Bears are considering moving to Arlington Heights, where they’re in the process of buying land.

The plan all year has been to resod Soldier Field between the last concert at the stadium Sept. 3 and the Bears’ regular-season opener Sept. 11.

The turf was already in bad shape before the Elton John concert Aug. 5. A day before the show, the Fire announced they were moving their match Aug. 21 to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview ‘‘due to the expected field condition at Soldier Field,’’ which the team suspected would not meet Major League Soccer standards.

Head coach Matt Eberflus said he thought the grass was ‘‘firm’’ and ‘‘good,’’ saying the grounds crew was ‘‘trying to do their best.’’

The grass has ‘‘always been that way,’’ quarterback Justin Fields said. ‘‘To be honest, last year I used our home field as an advantage.’’

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