The Achilles tear of Miami linebacker Jaelan Phillips on Black Friday has reignited the debate over the safety of playing on artificial turf as Phillips joins a long list of others who’ve suffered destructive lower-body injuries this season and players demand change to what they say are unnecessarily dangerous fields.
Achilles tear of Miami Dolphins linebacker Jaelan Phillips (who will make $3.8 million this year) on Black Friday prompted several of his teammates to speak out about the dangers of playing on the New York Jets’ turf field at Met Life Stadium: "Something has to change," Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert said shortly after safety Jevon Holland called the field "trash."The
Pro Bowler Talanoa Hufanga ($1.1 million), a safety for the San Francisco 49ers, tore his ACL during Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
suffered a season-ending Achilles tear Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.Pittsburg Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander ($1.3 million)
reported, the second serious Achilles injury for the athlete, who tore the same tendon on the right side in the first week of the 2021 season.Minnesota Vikings running back Cam Akers ($1.5 million) suffered what could be a season-ending Achilles injury to his left let in a game against the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN
reported, ending his seventh NFL season.Kendrick Bourne ($5.7 million), the leading wide receiver for the New England Patriots, tore his right ACL against the Miami Dolphins, ESPN
sources told ESPN was likely a season right Achilles tear to his right leg; he’s guaranteed to make $35 million this year.Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has never missed a game due to an injury, limped to the sidelines in Green Bay on Sunday after what
described by ESPN as the "soul and undisputed leader of the Falcons defense," exited Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans with a season-ending ACL tear; he's set to make $17.2 million this year.Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jarrett,
Tennessee Titans veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill ($29.5 million) suffered a high ankle sprain against the Baltimore Ravens in London.
The Buffalo Bills loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday also came with a likely season-ending knee injury for linebacker Matt Milano (set to make $13.6 million this year), who fractured his leg and potentially hurt his ACL in the first quarter of the London game.
reports there is no timetable for Jefferson's recovery, "but a hamstring injury for a player at his position can be problematic."Minnesota Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson ($3.3 million) left Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs after an injury to his right hamstring—ESPN
suffered a non-contact Achilles injury while covering Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White ($14.3 million)
million) was taken out of the game against the Texans with a knee injury that is not an ACL tear, NFL Media reporter Mike Garafolo said Monday, but more tests are needed to confirm what type of injury he sustained and when he'll return to play.Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett ($4.7
tearing his ACL in an attempt at a juke move that ended with a tackle from behind in a Sunday game against the Minnesota Vikings.Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams, who will make $20 million this year, won't play again this season after
Trevon Diggs ($22.3 million), star cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, suffered a left ACL tear during one-on-one red zone practice drills that will end his season.
likely need two different surgeries to repair the damage.Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb ($9.3 million) suffered a season ending MCL tear and hurt his ACL in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers—the injury was so gruesome ESPN declined to show the replay and he’ll
says could help him hit his goal of a playoff return.Aaron Rodgers ($50.2 million) threw just four snaps in his debut as quarterback for the New York Jets before rupturing his Achilles in the team's season opener against the Buffalo Bills; he underwent an innovative surgery two days later to place an internal brace called an Achilles "speed bridge" in the back of his left leg that the NFL
won’t return this season after tearing his Achilles in the team's opener against the Houston Texans as he was tackled on the way to the end zone after a reception.Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins ($1.8 million)
reported—Sterns went down on his second defensive snap with the injury after missing the last 12 games of the 2022-23 season with a hip injury.It's unlikely Broncos safety Caden Sterns ($843,000) will return after suffering a torn patellar tendon in the first week of season play against the Las Vegas Raiders, NBC Sports
USA Today reported.Running back Evan Hull ($711,000) had one carry and one reception in his NFL debut for the Indianapolis Colts before he suffered a knee injury, tearing his meniscus in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars,
Of this year's 23 major leg injuries so far, 13 have occurred on a turf or partially turf field. Injuries have most commonly happened this season on M&T Bank Stadium's grass field, U.S. Bank Stadium's turf and at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, which uses turf for NFL games. Rodgers and Tannehill were hurt on turf, Chubb and Diggs were injured on grass. Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where Cousins was injured, has a hybrid turf mix of synthetic and natural grass.
The argument over whether fields should be made of natural or artificial materials is not a new one, but the spate of recent injuries has brought it back to the public consciousness. There are 15 stadiums (serving 17 teams) in the NFL that use artificial grass for their fields and 15 that use turf. The NFL Players Association has argued for a full switch to natural grass surfaces over artificial turf fields for years, and Rodgers advocated for the move to be league-wide last fall before he tore his Achilles. Artificial surfaces are softer and allow for "more wobble" when feet hit the ground, he said, leading to more extreme non-contact injuries. The union renewed its call for the change again after Rodgers' injury and called it "the easiest decision the NFL can make.” NBC News on Sunday reported that of the 10 stadiums with the highest injury counts between 2017 and 2022, seven of them had artificial surfaces. Sports Info Solutions, a sports analytics company, told NBC that players were also more likely to suffer injuries that forced them to leave a game when on synthetic turf.
The NFL has argued that artificial turf fields exist for a reason and that the dangers are equal. Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president, has said the league is focused on cutting down on the number of injuries regardless of playing surface, and the type of field is left mostly up to NFL owners with control of their home stadiums. Grass fields are more expensive to maintain that turf on the whole, and they must be well kept and of high-quality grass, which can struggle in colder parts of the country in the winter months, CBS reported. The Tennessee Titans have said they switched to turf simply because the natural grass was impossible to keep up.
$312.2 million. That’s how much the players out for the season due to ACL or Achilles tears and other leg injuries will make this year, combined.
The nature of American football as a full-contact game has led to criticism and scrutiny, especially when it comes to damaging hits. The most common injuries in football are strains and sprains, which happen in both contact and non-contact settings, along with dislocations, fractures and concussions. The NFL reports 213 players got concussions in regular or pre-season games last year, up from 187 in 2021 and 172 in 2020. There were no pre-season games in 2020. The league has been heavily scrutinized as an increasing number of players are diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from major hits, which leads to debilitating symptoms including mental health changes and death. Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills safety, went into cardiac arrest following a tackle last year. He has since recovered and is cleared to play again.