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Bears will remain a grass act

Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey smiles as he speaks news conference Halas Hall Lake Forest Ill. Tuesday July 26 2011.

Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey smiles as he speaks at a news conference at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., Tuesday, July 26, 2011., after the NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously Monday to approve the terms of a deal with owners to the end the 41/2-month lockout. Now that an agreement is in place, it's time for the Chicago Bears to get to work. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: November 20, 2011 2:19AM



BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — Bears chairman George McCaskey said the team would take a more proactive approach in monitoring the turf conditions at Soldier Field but added that the organization remains committed to a grass surface.

McCaskey said the Bears are constantly evaluating the playing surface but still firmly believe that grass is best for the team.

“Our primary concern is player safety,” McCaskey said. “We want to prolong careers. We want our guys to be available on a week-to-week basis.

“The evaluation is ongoing. Every year we take a look at it. Our considered opinion is that right now the best surface for our team, primarily considering player safety, is a natural-grass field.”

To that end, though, McCaskey said team officials would take more of the initiative at Soldier Field.

“The [Chicago] Park District has already said that it was a miscalculation on their part, that they need to do a better job, and we need to do a better job, take an active role in monitoring their treatment of the field,” he said. “It needs to be a collaborative effort. And we’re confident it’s going to be.”

McCaskey insisted that he’s not concerned about the preseason opener Saturday at Soldier Field against the Buffalo Bills. He said he visited the stadium Sunday and didn’t have any concerns.

Hayden in the mix

Chicago native Kelvin Hayden could be heading to his hometown team.

Hayden, who returned an interception for a touchdown against the Bears in Super Bowl XLI for the Indianapolis Colts, visited the Bears on Monday.

The Colts released him because of his $43 million contract. Hayden was set to make $6 million this season with a salary-cap number of $9 million.

After signing Hayden to that contract, the Colts only were able to get 19 starts out of him because of injuries.

Hayden, though, is a physical 6-foot cornerback who has thrived in a cover-2-based scheme.

The Bears obviously are interested, but Hayden’s asking price will be a key. If he’s signed, that could spell trouble for Zack Bowman or Tim Jennings.

“I think Kelvin brings that kind of intensity to a team,“ Jennings said. “He’s a competitor, and if they feel like that’s the kind of move they need to make this team better, then it’s a great move.”

Added Charles Tillman, “Competition brings out the best in everybody.”

The ultimate goal, Tillman said, is to win a championship.

In brief

Coach Lovie Smith said he might play his starters longer than usual in the preseason opener because of all the missed offseason workouts and minicamps.

◆ Defensive tackles Anthony Adams and Stephen Paea didn’t practice. The session ended early because of heavy rain and lightning.

◆ A practice originally scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled. The Bears will next practice at Olivet Nazarene University on Wednesday at 7 p.m.



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