Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Bears' Forte concerned with field
At approximately the same time Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte was expressing concerns on Tuesday about the playing surface at Soldier Field, crews were in the stadium working on re-sodding the entire grass field.
The Bears' home opener is Sunday at 3:15 p.m. CT against the defending world champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I'm definitely concerned about it," Forte said on the "Waddle & Silvy" show on ESPN 1000. "I make a lot of cuts out there, and that's important being a running back. And [it's important] to the special teams and every part of the offense and defense.
"I just hope the field is set in."
The Bears traditionally re-sod the field after the preseason schedule and before the home opener. This week's re-sodding is being done according to schedule.
Often, the team does some re-sodding during the regular reason, including a full re-sodding between games in 2004.
The Bears are hoping the re-sodding is completed Wednesday.
"The most important thing to the organization is a safe surface," team spokesman Scott Hagel said. "Everything is within NFL guidelines."
Soldier Field is owned by the Chicago Park District.
The rock band U2 held two concerts in Soldier Field over the weekend. It's a similar situation to 2005, when the Rolling Stones played in Soldier Field the week before the Bears' home opener, and the Bears re-sodded the field after the concerts. There was no incident in the 2005 home opener.
But Forte isn't the only Bears player to have a problem with the field.
Tight end Desmond Clark, on his blog, said the Soldier Field surface is terrible.
"They have to resod [sic] the whole field before we play Pittsburgh, which will lead to loose turf," Clark wrote. "... we have one of the worst fields in the NFL and there are no excuses why the Chicago Bears, of all teams, should have to play on such a bad surface."
Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye also ripped the surface while co-hosting a show on ESPN 1000.
"They have a survey every year, and they ask players to rate the worst field in the league," Ogunleye said. "Some games -- during the game -- I'm telling guys, 'Next year when you have that survey, make sure you put our field down as the worst in the league.' It is. It's bad.
"When the weather gets a little wet and cold, our field is as bad as it gets."