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NFLPA President Rips Playing Surface Conditions at Soldier Field

NFLPA president and free agent center JC Tretter voiced his disapproval with the condition of Soldier Field on Saturday ahead of the Bears’ preseason opener against the Chiefs.

Photos shared by Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times prior to kickoff showed a number of issues with the turf inside the legendary stadium, including multiple divots and discolored patches around the north end of the field. Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star shared a video on Twitter of a stadium staffer appearing to plug the holes and dents with what was described as a “sand-like substance.”

As multiple reports of the dreadful conditions continued to make the rounds, Tretter blasted the NFL for allowing players to take the field and called upon the league to improve its testing metrics in an effort to better ensure player safety.

“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,” Tretter tweeted. “We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better.”

Tretter, who was elected to his second term in the position in March, adds to the growing discourse surrounding the state of affairs at Solider Field in recent months.

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Bears kicker Cairo Santos alerted the media on Aug. 10 of the poor conditions, sharing that he has deliberately sought out fields with less-than-ideal conditions near his Florida home to better prepare for future home games.

“I’ve seen better,” said Santos, who returned to Chicago in 2020 after a two-game stint with the club in 2017. “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.”

In July, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed a desire to invest in the improvement of Soldier Field amid reports of a possible relocation to Arlington Heights, a suburban area northwest of downtown Chicago, in the future. Based on their current agreement, the Bears are slated to play in the stadium until 2033 but could leave as soon as 2026 by paying a staggering $84 million penalty.

“We need to invest in Soldier Field,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Soldier Field must be a year-round destination. We must enhance the fan experience. … We are making a compelling case for the Bears to stay in Chicago. They want a Tier One stadium to maximize revenues and we agree.”

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