Add the Kelce brothers – Travis and Jason – to the list of high-profile NFLers to oppose turf.
Turf fields have become controversial in the National Football League, as many players have blamed their injuries on the surface in recent years.
On their “New Heights” podcast, Jason, the Philadelphia Eagles center, said “all NFL games should be played on grass fields,” and “it’s a joke” that that is not the case.
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“Take care of your players, man. It is so ridiculous, my feeling of my body after a game on turf than the feeling of my body after a game on grass,” the Kansas City Chiefs tight end said. “I can only imagine if the game I just played against Tennessee was on turf. Like, I barely walked out of that thing and I know it’s magnified by 10 whenever I play on turf. Every single step in the fourth quarter you feel in the knees and in the joints and in the ankles – at least this is just for me. I hate playing on turf. I think it’s silly.
“The ground’s harder when you hit it. More concussions happen on turf because of how players’ helmets hit the ground. More injuries in general because of the style of turf there is. Some cleats grab more, some cleats sit on top of the turf differently to make it more of an unstable surface, which puts more pressure and strain on your joints and your – everything. For real, I do not play around with this s—.”
Jason said he and his brother have been talking about it for years – both are well into their 30s and have more than a combined 20 NFL seasons under their belt. However, Jason said it’s a “league-wide” opinion.
Travis added that he makes note of which games he will play on turf before the season even starts “so I can mentally prepare.”
“I definitely am aware of which games I’m going to are turf games, and on top of that, whenever we practice on turf, I am – f— that. I’d rather practice in sleet, snow, thunderstorm with a chance to get struck by lightning than run inside on the turf.”
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Jason admitted that he preferred turf in college, while Travis added that playing on turf in high school was “the coolest s— ever.” But their experience as professionals has changed their tunes.
“I’ve seen a lot more injuries of guys just putting the foot in the ground and tearing an ACL on turf. Obviously it’s liable to happen on grass. I’m sure it’s happened before where it’s just a freak injury,” said Travis. “But there’s something about the turf and either the give or how the cleats sit on top of the surface and just put more strain on those joints. It just makes more sense. There’s so many more benefits.
“Even if you just rolled out some fresh grass in an indoor stadium. There’s new ways to get it all to kinda grow together and mesh together to where it’s thick enough.”
Jason called out the NFL, noting that it’s cost-efficient to have turf, but player safety needs to come first.
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“I think it’s time you all take some of that money y’all make off of us and invest it in grass fields for every team around the league,” he said, adding that turf is “like concrete.”
“Listen, I don’t know what all of the injury statistics say – I do know that anecdotally,” he added, “I know that, without question, that everybody prefers grass and that people feel much better with their joints, their knees, all that stuff after they play on grass than when they play on turf.”
Out of the 30 NFL stadiums, 14 of them have turf, but teams that play on turf and grass on their home fields are split 50-50.