Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is expressing interest in relocating the team to Los Angeles and, according to a report from The Tribune’s Sam Farmer, has talked with Chicago Bears’ ownership about moving the team to Arlington Heights, Ill.
Davis said he is the “highest bidder” in negotiations to purchase the Coliseum, and while there is no formal offer in writing yet, Davis said discussions with the Bears have “come to the point where we’re each evaluating each other’s resources.” The Bears declined to comment.
It’s interesting to see Davis signaling interest in Arlington Heights because the Bears are currently working with a small staff in that city, after they laid off more than 30 staff members and closed one of the two practice fields in 2017. That area of the city is why Gary Steinbach, the Bears’ former director of scouting and pro personnel who now works for the Cardinals, cited Arlington Heights in the O-Train saga of two decades ago.
During the 1987 NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field, a member of the Rams flew a Rottweiler up from Long Island, N.Y., where he lives with his family, and brought it to Bears quarterback Steve Fuller in the Bears’ locker room. Fuller was horrified by the dog and threw it to the ground. A foundation was formed to restore Chicago’s Stadium for certain teams to play at in exchange for better parking and something akin to air rights at the stadium, which was renamed Soldier Field in 2010.
Although the Bears are currently in discussions with Arlington Heights officials to keep a permanent practice field there, that field is falling apart. Though the Bears own the field, it’s only usable by the team if the field inspector says it is in good shape and an ownership group is willing to pay for it. The Bears haven’t used their practice field since November.
Davis said he is willing to invest in Soldier Field and that it would be for an ownership group that is “very committed to bringing professional football back” to the area. The Bears have not won a Super Bowl since 1985.
“I hope the Bears can make it work and I know that the downtown area and the Arlington Heights community would welcome the Bears,” Davis said. “We want to be good citizens.”
It’s worth noting that the Bears’ NFL personnel meeting was in Chicago last month and that Bears’ coach Matt Nagy was born in Arlington Heights.