Bears' Soldier Field will have new sod for season opener

CHICAGO -- Soldier Field is receiving new sod.

In a press release issued Thursday, the Chicago Park District said it's working with the Bears to "identify a preferred vendor" and that a top agronomist is being consulted. The new surface will be installed over Labor Day weekend, in time for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Park District said stadium management has been working with Penn State professor Dr. Andrew McNitt since March and will continue through the season. He consults with 10 other NFL stadiums.

Bears players repeatedly have blasted the conditions at Soldier Field, and there were more calls for artificial surface this month when the team had to cancel a "Family Fest" practice at the stadium this month because 3½-week-old sod was in poor shape. Team management has decided against artificial turf in favor of player safety.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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