Bears kicker Santos trained on poor fields to prepare for Soldier Field
The turf at Soldier Field is already causing problems for Bears kicker Cairo Santos ahead of Chicago's first preseason game.
"Especially Week 1, our first game of the season - I've seen better," Santos said at practice Tuesday, according to Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's just what we have to deal with. The less of a problem you make it in your mind, it helps you overcome it and just go."
Bears players and opponents have long criticized Soldier Field's turf conditions, leading the stadium to switch sod providers in 2018. Santos spent the offseason training at poorly maintained public parks in Florida in order to simulate the surface.
"I was going to a turf field at a high school, which was perfect," Santos said. "It was almost like, 'OK. I'm getting too comfortable.' So in my neighborhood, there's a soccer field, and the grass is Bermuda grass. It's real long. I was like, 'OK. This is more like it.'
"The ball flies different. It's not super even all the time. . . . It's important to put yourself in that situation."
Santos has performed well in his last two seasons with the Bears. He set a franchise record in 2020 by converting 93.3% of his field-goal attempts and made 86.7% of them last season.