Reviews mixed as discussion over Soldier Field turf goes on

Chicago Bears players gave mixed reviews to the much-criticized Soldier Field surface after Saturday night's 10-3 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Several Bears, including linebacker Brian Urlacher and wide receiver Devin Hester, had called for a switch to artificial turf after the Aug. 5 Family Fest practice was canceled because of dried-out sod that caused the seams to buckle. There were no ringing endorsements on Saturday, but running back Kahlil Bell didn't have a big problem with it.

"I think (the turf) was good today," Bell told the Chicago Tribune. "I didn't get the chance to see it last week, but I think the (Park) District did a good thing. Football is football. We both have to play on it. It's not like one team gets the good turf and the other team gets the bad turf. ... It's not a big deal."

Bell carried 13 times for a game-high 73 yards.

"Field wasn't bad. It wasn't bad at all," Bears wide receiver Roy Williams said.

Quarterback Jay Cutler appeared to disagree, saying, "I don't know. It is what it is. I don't think it is going to change, so we just have to play on it."

The newspaper said giant rollers were reportedly used to level out the field and eliminate the seams. About an hour before kickoff, local television crews were told by security personnel not to photograph the field from ground level, the newspaper said.

"The field looks good and it is just exciting to get the season going again," Bears President Ted Phillips told Fox Sports beforehand. Phillips added that if the franchise decided to change to FieldTurf, it could not return to natural grass.

"I think the players still would prefer to play on grass," he said.

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