Bears, Chicago Park District bickering over Soldier Field grass
The Chicago Bears and the Chicago Park District are at it again sniping at each other over the condition of the playing surface at Soldier Field following Sunday’s rainy 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans.
The Park District, which foots the bill for maintenance, including re-sodding the natural grass surface, is repairing the middle 40 yards of the field after it was torn up in the game on Sunday. Kicker Robbie Gould was critical of the playing surface during an appearance on WMVP-AM 1000 on Tuesday night.
“I don't know what's happening,” Gould said. “This year our field has been really bad. It's been tore up. There have actually been some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other spots are high.
“But it's been really interesting to watch this year how bad our field has really been. I know we have talked about this every single year. ... Can we please get somebody in there that watches a news report?”
Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour fired back at Gould.
“Those are ridiculous comments. He doesn’t know what he is talking about,” LeFevour said. “The field has not been an issue all year, and we haven’t heard anyone else complaining.”
LeFevour said after Gould complained about a lack of room to warm up on the sideline, a special section for him has been roped off for him to practice.
“He is never satisfied,” LeFevour said.
The Bears must have got to Gould later on in the day as he issued a statement through the team.
“I need to apologize to the grounds crew at Soldier Field and our grounds crew for my recent comments regarding the field,” Gould said. “I have since learned a lot more about the NFL’s policies and the measures that are taken at Soldier Field to ensure a reliable and safe playing surface. It was my mistake to speak prior to having a full understanding.”
The Bears also had general manager Phil Emery issue a statement trying to smooth over the issue.
"I very much appreciate our relationship with SMG and the Chicago Park District,” Emery said. “We have assembled a strong team of members from our staff and theirs that work together to evaluate the field and keep it in excellent condition. They have done a great job working with us to ensure we have the best playing surface for our players.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune