Seahawks' Pete Carroll: NFL Needs to Look Really Seriously at Mandating Grass Fields

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 27, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks reacts to a play during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Seattle Seahawks won 37-23. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Count Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll among those who believe the NFL should consider mandating natural grass fields to improve player safety.

"I think we definitely need to look at this really seriously in the offseason again," Carroll said Wednesday, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. "It's been a discussion before. We've got to do what's right, and we've got to do what's safest for the players and we've got to make those choices. I would pound on the drum for that."

The conversation picked up steam around the Seahawks following Sunday's victory over the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium, which has an artificial turf surface.

Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson was lost for the season because of a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee, while Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf suffered a less serious left patellar tendon injury that will not require surgery but could keep him sidelined for the upcoming game against the New York Giants.

Henderson noted this is not a new discussion with NFL Players Association president JC Tretter calling for teams to use grass fields in 2020.

Tretter pointed to the league's injury data from 2012 to 2018 when making his argument. That data revealed there was a 28 percent higher rate of non-contact lower body injuries on turf than grass, which is notable since both Metcalf and Jackson suffered non-contact injuries.

"So you see that and you just kind of wonder why can't we have natural grass everywhere," Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs said. "I love playing in San Francisco and things like that where it's grass and you just go out there and you just go play. Hopefully we're doing some research on it and seeing what we can do to make things better."

While grass would lead to more upkeep and, by extension, more expenses, Diggs suggested player safety should be a bigger concern.

"I know it's hard to upkeep grass, but at the end of the day, we've got to do what's best for this billion-dollar industry and I think the players are a big part of that," Diggs said. "So maybe we can take some ideas from the players."

Despite the injury to Metcalf, Seattle still managed to defeat the Chargers 37-23. It has been among the league's most surprising teams in 2022 with a 4-3 record even though it traded future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos this offseason.

The Seahawks will host the Giants in Week 8 at Lumen Field, which is one of the 14 NFL stadiums with an artificial surface.