Jets players support NFLPA statement for turf on all fields
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will miss the rest of the 2023 season. The injury has sparked a debate between players who play on natural grass versus turf around NFL circles.
MetLife Stadium, which hosts both the Jets and Giants, has installed a new stadium surface called FieldTurf, which is supposed to be softer and easier on a player’s joints than the artificial turf that was used before.
Despite the change to FieldTurf, Jets players say they prefer to play on grass at MetLife Stadium.
“When I was in Baltimore, we had this problem,” Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Baltimore was grass when I first got there, and from what I know, the players had a say in whether we wanted grass or grass, and they switched from grass to grass.
“I know there are a lot of concerts and things like that here, and that’s probably why they don’t do it. But I feel like that has to change. Grass is better for your body and better for your knees.”
“I know in terms of revenue and stuff, that’s a tough subject. You see a star, or a future Hall of Famer, go down like that — but you never know, it could have happened on turf. At the end of the day, turf feels better on your body than turf .
On Wednesday, two days after Rodgers’ injury, Lloyd Howell, executive director of the NFL Players Association, also expressed his opinion on why all 32 stadiums should have grass fields.
“Moving all stadium fields to high-quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make,” Howell said in a statement. “Players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that turf is simply safer than artificial turf. It’s an issue that was near the top of the players’ list during my team’s visits and I’ve raised it with the NFL.
Also on Wednesday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on ESPN’s “First Take” that player safety remains his and the league’s focus as they continue to speak with the union about the turf-versus-turf debate.
“What we want to go to is science,” Goodell said. “We want to continue to do the best from an injury standpoint to prevent injuries, and to give our players the best possible surface to play on.”
Rodgers’ injury occurred as he attempted to escape Leonard Floyd’s grasp before being dropped on the sack. On the play, Rodgers’ leg appeared to be planted in FieldTurd and he tore his Achilles tendon.
After the sack, Rodgers got up, but returned to the field in pain where he had to be assisted by the Jets’ coaching staff.
The turf at MetLife has been the subject of several complaints from players. On Tuesday, Eagles lineback Darius Slay said, “Everybody knows about that damn stadium,” when referring to MetLife Stadium. During the 2022 season, the Ravens were unhappy after cornerback Kyle Fuller tore his ACL in Week 1 against the Jets.
“My position is everything should be played on grass,” Jets center Connor McGovern said. “You feel the difference when you play a match on grass. When I was a young player, I couldn’t quite believe it, but now I’ve gotten to the age I’m at, you feel it in your ankles, your knees, your hips, your back, and the torque you’re generating at the end through that grass, it wears on your body even more.” Much more.
“The two big injuries I had in my career going back to college, they were all on the turf, none of them on the turf. Firstly, for playing and longevity and overall health, the turf is important. To prevent major injuries, I think the turf is important.”
“It’s a big blow that Aaron went down on the turf. I get the give and take and the reasons, but I think sports deserve to be played on turf just as much as they turn into football matches.
In April, the NFLPA released information from 2012 to 2022 that showed an increase in non-contact injuries on artificial surfaces rather than grass fields. Goodell and the league defended the use of grass, saying that injuries on the two surfaces were similar.
However, several players, such as Jets cornerback DJ Reed and Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, have expressed a desire to play all stadiums on natural turf.
“If you look at the numbers, I was seeing something online that was about numbers about how the hit rate is going up on turf and down on turf,” Jets’ Dalvin Cook said. “If the numbers can go down on grass, let’s play on grass.
“I’m all for the numbers. If we want grass, let’s go to grass. I feel quick about both.”
(Tags for translation)Aaron Rodgers