NFL players union president slams Soldier Field conditions

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco is chased out of bounds near the goal line by Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Saturday August 13, 2022 in Chicago.  (AP Photo/David Banks)

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco is chased out of bounds near the goal line by Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker during the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Saturday August 13, 2022 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

PA

The NFL Players Association president blasted the conditions at Soldier Field on Saturday, and he didn’t really get an argument from the Chicago Bears or Kansas City Chiefs after their preseason game.

Union president JC Tretter tweeted that the field did not meet NFL standards.

“The NFL has declared this field to meet minimum testing standards,” he wrote. “We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to play. We need new testing measures looking at the performance and safety of each field. The NFL can and must do better.

Chicago quarterback Justin Fields said things were worse when the Bears practiced there on Tuesday rather than at their suburban headquarters. He also said he was trying to use the conditions to work in his favor.

“I knew how our weed was,” he said. “So I knew the other teams didn’t know how it was, so I kind of used it to my advantage in running and stuff like that, using the long spikes and stuff like that.”

The conditions didn’t seem to bother Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes. The four-time Pro Bowler threw for 60 yards and a touchdown on the Chiefs’ first possession, then called it a day.

“I think they had a gig so there was stuff here and there, but it wasn’t crazy, bad (stuff) or anything like that,” he said. “I love playing here at Soldier Field. It’s a great stadium. You feel the history of it.

Conditions at Soldier Field have long been a source of frustration for Bears players and coaches as well as other teams. The lakeside location and inclement weather make surface maintenance difficult for the Chicago Park District, which owns the stadium.

The peloton was particularly restless after Elton John played there last weekend. Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire also plays there.

“A lot better than my high school field looked,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid joked. “Not a lot.”

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