NFLPA executive director pushes for natural grass playing surfaces after Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles tear
The impact of Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury is being felt beyond the New York Jets locker room.
Multiple NFL players voiced their issues with artificial turf fields following the devastating injury to the four-time MVP.
On Wednesday, NFLPA Executive Director Lloyd Howell called for all stadiums to move to natural grass surfaces.
“Moving all stadium fields to high quality natural grass surfaces is the easiest decision the NFL can make,” Howell said in a press release. “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.
“While we know there is an investment to making this change, there is a bigger cost to everyone in our business if we keep losing our best players to unnecessary injuries. It makes no sense that stadiums can flip over to superior grass surfaces when the World Cup comes, or soccer clubs come to visit for exhibition games in the summer, but inferior artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players. This is worth the investment and simply needs to change now.”
Jets wide receiver Randall Cobb, who was Rodgers’ longtime teammate in Green Bay, was among those to speak out.
“We wanted the NFL to protect the players with grass fields, but the NFL is more worried about making money,” Cobb said, via The Athletic.
“Profit over people, it’s always been the case. I’ve never been a fan of turf. That’s my stance.”
Jets cornerback D.J. Reed took to social media and called for grass turf in all stadiums.
Rodgers suffered the Achilles tear on just the fourth play of his first game in a Jets uniform.
The injury is a brutal blow to the Jets, who had Super Bowl aspirations heading into the season.
The No. 2 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson, was named the starting quarterback by head coach Robert Saleh, who also refused to blame the turf for Rodgers’ injury.
“No. If it was a non-contact injury, I think that’d be something to discuss obviously,” Saleh said on Tuesday. “But I think that was trauma-induced. I do know the players prefer grass and there’s a lot invested in those young men.”
MetLife Stadium replaced the previous turf field with a new, improved synthetic surface in March.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and Ryan Morik contributed to this report