The Bears began preseason action at home against the Chiefs on Saturday. However, Soldier Field did not exactly look appealing ahead of the first game.
Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted pictures that showed multiple divots on the field. He also stated that the north end of the field included spots that resembled a “shade of green and brown” and a little bit of “rusty sage.”
Even more, a stadium staffer was reportedly using a sand-like substance to cover the holes and dents on the field, according to Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star.
Some of the issues have been attributed to an Elton John concert held at the stadium last Friday.
On Thursday, Bears kicker Cairo Santos told the Times that he has "seen better" when observing the Soldier Field turf conditions. Santos also spent time kicking on a lousy, turf-based high school field near his Florida home in preparation to play at the Bears’ venue on Saturday.
But even in doing so, Santos said he is trying not to think about the current state of Soldier Field. “It’s just what we have to deal with,” Santos told the Times. “The less of a problem you make it in your mind, it helps you overcome it and just go.”
The field issues come amid the Bears dealing with potential relocation from the stadium in the future. One possibility for the team includes relocating to the suburbs in Arlington Heights after the franchise signed a $197.2 million purchase agreement with Churchill Downs Incorporated in fall 2021 to begin the predevelopment affairs for the former 326-acre racetrack property.
However, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has been determined to keep the Bears at Soldier Field along the city’s lakefront. As such, Soldier Field shared a proposal for a dome and other updates to be added to the 100-year-old stadium with hopes of keeping the team in the heart of the city instead of moving to the suburbs.
“We need to invest in Soldier Field,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times in July. “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.”
But, the franchise has previously stated that it was only interested in exploring the move to Arlington Heights under the contract they signed.
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