Roger Goodell: Bears looking to the long term with Soldier Field alternative

The prospect of the Bears leaving Soldier Field has become a topic of conversation over the last couple of weeks.

The team has made a bid to purchase a racetrack property in suburban Arlington Heights and local officials have approved the use of the Arlington Park site for a football stadium. The team has also struck a sponsorship deal with the current owners of the track as part of maneuvering that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has shrugged off as negotiating ploys concerning their future at Soldier Field.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the possibility of a Bears move during an appearance on 670 The Score on Wednesday. Goodell noted the Bears’ current lease at Soldier Field, which runs through 2033, as a sign that this is a case of the team looking at long-term possibilities rather than anything to worry about in the immediate future.

“I don’t know the answer to that question other than to know this is a really early stage to develop potentially an alternative,” Goodell said. “But I think a lot has to be done here. I know their commitment to the Chicago area is 110 percent, and that’s the most important thing to me. We have a long lease at Soldier Field. It’s a great place. But we’re all looking to the long term and trying to look at alternatives, and that’s what the Bears are doing. But I think for fans right now, I wouldn’t be focused on that. There’s a lot that has to go into this. Right now, let’s enjoy the ’21 season. A lot of excitement for the Bears.”

If the bid to purchase the track is accepted and the deal goes through, focus on a move is going to increase regardless of how long the lease at their current home runs.