Last weekend, SoFi Stadium played host to the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle Seahawks. During that game, three star players appeared to suffer injuries that will keep them out for multiple weeks. Chargers wideout Mike Williams sustained a high-ankle sprain. Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf suffered a knee injury that required him to be carted off the field. And Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon.
In the wake of those injuries and more around the league, players and coaches are speaking out regarding the danger to players of playing games on turf rather than grass. The latest to join the chorus is Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who also plays his home games at SoFi Stadium, where the aforementioned injuries occurred.
"It's not even close," Kupp said regarding whether games should be played on turf or grass, according to ESPN. "I know there's stuff going around the league right now, there's some issues. Hands down, we should be playing on grass. Hands down, we should be on grass. And that's all I'm going to say."
Kupp was also asked whether his statement applied to the turf at SoFi Stadium in addition to other stadiums, and he simply responded, "We should be on grass."
Following the injury to Metcalf last week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the issue of turf vs. grass is something "we definitely need to look at this really seriously in the offseason again," per 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."
SoFi Stadium is not the only game surface that has come under fire. Earlier this season, after two players on his team suffered season-ending injuries (Ja'Wuan James and Kyle Fuller), Ravens coach John Harbaugh turned his ire to the turf at MetLife Stadium, which has come under intense scrutiny multiple times over the years.
"Everybody in this league should do everything they can to put the best surface out there," Harbaugh said at the time. "How much is invested in the players who go out there and play? Our league really is -- it's a player-driven league. And we want those guys to have the best of the best, especially surfaces to play on. ... That turf [at MetLife] was matted down, it was packed down, it was a little tight. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be, I don't know. But that's what I saw. It was a little tough."
The NFLPA has made playing on grass surfaces a focus in discussions before, but as injuries keep piling up, it may force the players association to become more strident. If reducing the number of injuries is possible, teams should be willing to accommodate them, regardless of whether it costs more money to play on grass than turf.