Fond farewell

It wasn't exactly a tearful good-bye when the Bears left Memorial Stadium for the final time Saturday night. Their next home game, Sept. 29 against the Packers, will be played at rebuilt Soldier Field. During construction, which began at the conclusion of the 2001 season, home games were played at the University of <!--Default For Illinois is to ignore-->Illinois.

Defensive tackle Keith Traylor laughed when asked if part of him was ready to say good-bye to Champaign.

"Definitely," Traylor said. "I liked the crowd and the atmosphere, but I just didn't really care for that grass."

"It's a good farewell to the University of Illinois," said wide receiver David Terrell, who last season complained about the smell of fertilizer emanating from surrounding farmland. "We appreciate their hospitality and letting us use their field, but I'm ready to get back to Soldier Field. That's my real home."

But the experience wasn't as bad as some may have intimated.

"It was football," defensive end Alex Brown said. "I don't think it was so horrible. It was another football field. Let's go play. People make it seem like it was just so terrible. I don't think it was.

"It wasn't hard on me. It wasn't that bad. It's not like we almost died or anything. We're fine."

The Bears were 3-5 last season at Memorial Stadium, but they had an identical home record in 1998, '99 and 2000. In 1997 they were 2-6, but went 7-1 the last time (2001) they played in Soldier Field.


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