Bears president George McCaskey apologized to Bears fans for the cancellation of the Bears' Family Fest last Friday at Soldier Field and said he was confident the playing field at the venerable lakefront stadium will be in fine shape for the team's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.
''I was there yesterday and spoke to Ken Mrock, our groundskeeper [and] John Nolan, the park district's groundskeeper,'' said McCaskey, speaking to reporters outside the mess hall at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. ''Both of them said they're very confident the field's going to be ready Saturday.''
McCaskey reiterated the organization's stance that natural grass is the best surface at Soldier Field because, he said, there are fewer injuries than on artificial surfaces.
''Our primary concern is player safety,'' McCaskey said. ''We want to prolong careers. We want our guys to be available on a week-to-week basis. The evaluation is ongoing. Every year we take a look at it. Our considered opinion is that right now the best surface for our team, primarily considering layer safety, is a natural grass field.''
Many Bears fans also would prefer natural grass -- as long as the Chicago Park District isn't in charge of it. But McCaskey said he did think the team needed to find an outside groundskeeping specialist like Roger Bossard or George Toma to alleviate future problems at Soldier Field.
''The park district has a consultant and we have an experienced groundskeeping staff that we have faith in,'' McCaskey said.
''The park district has already said that it was a miscalculation on their part, that they need to do a better job. And we need to do a better job to take an active role in monitoring their treatment of the field. It needs to be a collaborative effort. And we're confident it's going to be.''