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Gould backtracks from critical comments

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 14, 2012 – 4:22 pm

After criticizing the Soldier Field grounds crew for not covering the playing surface before Sunday night’s game against the Houston Texans, Bears kicker Robbie Gould offered an apology.

The field reportedly was covered from Friday through Sunday morning. It didn’t begin raining until about two hours before the 7:20 p.m. game, and NFL rules require that tarps be off the field 90 minutes before kickoff, a process that takes about 30 minutes.

“I need to apologize to the grounds crew at Soldier Field and our grounds crew for my recent comments regarding the field,” Gould said. “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.”

Co-hosting a radio show Tuesday night on ESPN 1000, Gould complained about the field being soft and uneven.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Gould said. “This year our field has been really bad. It’s been tore up. There have actually been some places on the field where some portions of it have actually sunk to a new low level, and the other spots are high.”

Bears coach Lovie Smith was asked about Gould’s critical comments.

“You have to talk to Robbie about that,” Smith said. “To me, our surface, I mean, it’s November in Chicago. There’s a certain type of surface you’re going to get at Soldier Field. If it is soft and things like that, to me it’s to our advantage. That’s the only way we can look at it.

“Field-wise, there are different surfaces you’re going to play on. As long as both teams are playing on the surface, that’s never going to be an issue you’re going to hear me talk about.”

Bears general manager Phil Emery also weighed in on the issue later Wednesday.

“I very much appreciate our relationship with SMG and the Chicago Park District,” Emery said in a statement.  “We have assembled a strong team of members from our staff and theirs that work together to evaluate the field and keep it in excellent condition. They have done a great job working with us to ensure we have the best playing surface for our players.”

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