92% of NFL players want grass fields, NFLPA head says

 

The debate over grass and artificial turf appears to be cut and dry among NFL players

On Tuesday, NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Director Lloyd Howell said the majority of players want to play on a natural grass surface. 

“It’s really basic,” Howell said, according to ESPN. “It’s not rocket science. Ninety-two percent of our union wants grass. That’s compelling. The bottom line is, it’s unquestionable that our union wants to have a working condition where they play on grass.”

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The debate between grass and artificial playing surfaces has been raging for the past couple of years as player safety has come to the forefront. 

Half of the 30 NFL stadiums use artificial turf, while the remaining 15 stadiums use either hybrid or natural grass, per The Associated Press. 

Grass surfaces are supposed to be softer and allow for fewer injuries. 

“Grass fields have a lower injury rate,” Howell said. “A difference in what kind of chronic pain they’ll be in for the rest of their lives.”

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The conversation over playing surfaces in the NFL was reignited in Week 1 when New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon at MetLife Stadium. 

Several of Rodgers’ teammates pointed to the field conditions at MetLife Stadium, specifically the turf, which was replaced earlier in the year after overwhelming criticism around the league. 

“We wanted the NFL to protect the players with grass fields, but the NFL is more worried about making money,” Jets receiver and Rodgers’ longtime teammate in Green Bay Randall Cobb said via The Athletic.

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“Profit over people, it’s always been the case. I’ve never been a fan of turf. That’s my stance.”

On Wednesday, NFLPA President JC Tretter pointed to injury rates on turf versus grass. 

“Turf has stayed relatively consistent at an injury rate over the last decade,” Tretter said. “Grass this year has its highest injury rate over the last decade, but it was still lower than the injury rate on turf. So, the worst performing year on grass is still better than turf this year.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report.