Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey is rebuffing his players' call for a switch to artificial turf at Soldier Field.
McCaskey told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that the team would be more proactive in monitoring turf conditions, but said the organization remains committed to a grass surface.
"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 player safety, is a natural-grass field."
Bears players called for a switch to an artificial playing surface at Soldier Field after Friday's "Family Fest" practice at the stadium was canceled due to dried-out sod. Chicago Park District officials failed to put enough water on three-and-a-half-week-old sod, causing the seams to buckle.
"I don't understand why they don't have FieldTurf, yet," Urlacher said. "We're a fast team. We play fast on FieldTurf. The injury issues aren't as bad as they used to be (with artificial turf). They've gone down a lot in the last few years with the way they made the turf and stuff. So I don't understand it.
"Use our speed. You know we can run. Let us go out there and run."
McCaskey said team officials would take more initiative.
"The (Chicago) 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, take an active role in monitoring their treatment of the field," he said. "It needs to be a collaborative effort. And weâre confident itâs going to be."
In other Bears news, the man who clinched the Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl victory against Chicago in 2007 might wind up in a Bears uniform in 2011. Free-agent cornerback Kelvin Hayden, a Chicago native, visited the Bears on Monday, according to the Sun-Times.
The Colts released Hayden because of his $43 million contract. He was set to make $6 million this season with a salary-cap number of $9 million.
"I think Kelvin brings that kind of intensity to a team," Jennings told the Sun-Times. "Heâs a competitor, and if they feel like thatâs the kind of move they need to make this team better, then itâs a great move." Also Monday, the Bears waived quarterback Matt Gutierrez and running back Dan Dierking.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.