Around the NFL  

 

Robbie Gould rips Soldier Field surface, then recants

The turf inside the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field is historically awful. Players have complained about the footing for years as they tear up huge chunks while trying to plant and cut. 

Sunday night, it was especially bad as rain rolled in during the late afternoon. Kickoff was at 7:20 p.m., and the rain was consistent throughout the game.

Rapoport: Week 11 game rankings
What's the best game on the Week 11 slate? The worst? Ian Rapoport provides a pecking order in his Rap Sheet Rankings. More ...

However, one player is backtracking on his prior complaints. Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould, who was very vocal Tuesday in his criticism of the field, now has issued an apology.

"I need to apologize to the grounds crew at Soldier Field and our grounds crew for my recent comments regarding the field," Gould said in a statement released by the Bears on Wednesday. "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."

That's a much different tone from Gould's conversation with WMVP-AM.

"I don't know what's happening," Gould said in the radio interview. "This year, our field has been really bad. It's been tore up. There have actually be some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other sports 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?"

The city owns the stadium, and the Chicago Parks District runs the facility. Tim LeFevour is the general manager of Soldier Field. He and Bears general manager Phil Emery met after Sunday's game to talk about the field.

The whole field was resodded six weeks ago after Notre Dame played Miami there. The NFL requires the tarp be removed from the field 90 minutes before games. LeFevour explained that it takes a 50-man crew 30 to 40 minutes to put out the tarp on and 30 minutes to take it off. He contends there would not have been much of a benefit to put out the tarp in relation to the NFL's requirement.

Jeremiah: Ranking backup QBs
With backup quarterbacks coming to the forefront of late, Daniel Jeremiah ranks playoff contenders' No. 2 signal-callers. More ...

LeFevour also took issue with Gould.

"Those are ridiculous comments," LeFevour said. "He doesn't know what he is talking about. The field has not been an issue all year, and we haven't heard anyone else.

"He is never satisfied."

LeFevour said Gould has complained about not having enough room on the sideline to practice kicks in the past.

Gould was correct in saying there seems to be an issue with the field every year. This has been a regular occurrence. But the Chicago Tribune has reported the center 40 yards of the field will be replaced with new sod Friday.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15