Bears look to slow Michael Vick
CHICAGO -- With plenty of rain this week and a high school football game scheduled for Friday, the Soldier Field turf may help the Chicago Bears slow down Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
It's gonna be cold. It's gonna be a little wet. It's gonna be messy, and hopefully it does slow down [Michael Vick] a little bit.” -- Henry Melton
"They're playing Friday? Oh, man," Bears defensive end Henry Melton said Wednesday, laughing. "It's gonna be great. It's gonna be cold. It's gonna be a little wet. It's gonna be messy, and hopefully it does slow down [Vick] a little bit."
Eagles coach Andy Reid is familiar with the turf, dating back to his days with the Green Bay Packers. So he should be able to properly warn his team about field conditions, which often have been criticized by Bears players and opponents.
"I don't know if this a good thing or bad thing, but Soldier Field -- we've played there a million times, and not only with the Eagles but with Green Bay -- and that turf is a little soft," Reid said Wednesday. "But whatever you lose in footing, when you land, it's a good cushion. You got to look at the positive and negative of it.
"You just got to make sure you keep your shoulders over your toes at all positions, and maintain a good base and you should be okay."
The annual "Prep Bowl," which features a team from the Chicago Public League against a Catholic League representative, is traditionally played on the day after Thanksgiving.
"There's limited [work to be done after the high school game]," said Luca Serra, the director of sponsorship and media for Soldier Field. "The grounds crew is out there. They replace any divots, and any grass that might come up. We're talking about some cold weather, so the grass isn't growing."
The field has been covered this week, according to Serra, but he's not sure whether it will be covered after Friday's game. Solider Field is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District.
"It's one game, and it just depends on the weather conditions," Serra said. "In this case, the weather looks great and looks cold, which is perfect for us.
"Typically the Bears like it hard, and the field holds better when you're talking about colder weather."
The NFL has requirements regarding whether a field should be covered and other maintenance issues. It's not up to the Bears whether they want to cover the field. The team did not re-sod the field after the Nov. 14 game against the Minnesota Vikings, because it determined the field was in good shape.
Michael C. Wright and Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.