Jets players support NFLPA statement for grass in all stadiums

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On Monday night, the Jets’ worst nightmare occurred four plays into the game against the Bills.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the rest of the 2023 season. The injury has sparked a debate between players playing on natural grass versus turf around NFL circles.
MetLife Stadium, which hosts both the Jets and Giants, installed a new field surface called FieldTurf, which is supposed to be softer and easier on player’s joints than the synthetic turf that was used before.
Despite the change to FieldTurf, Jets players say they would rather play on grass at MetLife Stadium.
“When I was at Baltimore, we had that issue,” Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Baltimore was turf when I first got there and from what I know, players had a say so on whether we wanted grass or turf and they switched from turf to grass.
“I know here, there’s a lot of concerts and things like that and that’s probably the reasons they didn’t do it. But I feel that has to be something that changes. Grass is better for your body better for your knees.
“I know with the revenue and stuff, it’s a tricky subject. You see a star, a future Hall of Famer go down like that — you just never know, it could have happened on grass. At the end of the day, grass feels better on your body than turf.”
On Wednesday, two days after Rodgers’ injury, the NFL Players Association executive director Lloyd Howell also voiced 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. “The players overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf. It is an issue that has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised 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 will continue to speak with the union about the turf versus grass debate.
“What we want to go is on science,” Goodell said. “We want to go on what’s the best from an injury standpoint to prevent the injuries, to give our players the best possible surface to play on.”
Rodgers’ injury happened while he was trying to escape edge rusher Leonard Floyd‘s grasp before he was brought down on the sack. On the play, Rodgers’ leg appeared to be planted in the FieldTurd and he ruptured his Achilles.
Following the sack, Rodgers got up, but he went back down on the field in pain as he had to be helped up by the Jets training staff.
The turf at MetLife has been the subject of several complaints from players. On Tuesday, Eagles cornerback Darius Slay said “Everybody knows about that g–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 stance is everything should be played on grass,” Jets center Connor McGovern said. “You feel a difference when you play a game on grass and turf. When I was a young player, I didn’t quite believe it, but now I’ve gotten to the age that I’m at, you feel it in your ankles, knees, hips, back, the torque that you end up generating through that turf, just wears on your body so much more.
“The couple of major injuries that I’ve had in my career going back to college, all have been on turf, it hasn’t been on grass. One, for the play and, longevity, the overall health, grass is important. And to prevent major injuries, I think grass is important.
“It’s a major hit to have Aaron go down because of turf. I get the gives and takes and the reasons why, but I think the sport deserves to be played on grass just like they’re switching over for the soccer games.”
In April, the NFLPA released information from 2012-22 that showed an increase in non-contact injuries on artificial surfaces instead of grass fields. Goodell and the league have been in defense of using turf as they said injuries on the two surfaces were both close.
However, many players, such as Jets cornerback Jets cornerback D.J. Reed and Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, have both expressed the desire for all stadiums to be played on natural grass.
“If you look at the numbers, I was seeing something on the internet, it was about numbers on how the injury rate go up on turf and it’s down on grass,” Jets running back Dalvin Cook said. “If the numbers can go down on grass, let’s play on grass.
“I’m all with the numbers, if we want grass, let’s go grass. I feel fast on both of them.”

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