Jadeveon Clowney is expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks after suffering a torn meniscus in the Houston Texans’ win over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. According to Texans safety DJ Swearinger, the turf at NRG Stadium could be to blame for the injury.
“He told me on the field when it happened, he was just like, ‘Bro, I just jumped, came down and hit one of the holes on the field,'” Swearinger said, per NFL.com’s Albert Breer. “There are a few holes in the grass, so he said he thought he stepped on one of those holes and got hurt. So I told him to try and walk it off, see if he could go. He went in the next play and couldn’t go, so I told him to go to the sideline and see what’s up with it. And he went over to the sideline, and I guess that’s when they told him (he had to stay out).”
NRG Stadium has a retractable roof, and the grass is grown outside on trays which are pieced together to make up the football field. As Breer reminded us, Wes Welker suffered a non-contact injury and tore his ACL back in 2010 when the New England Patriots traveled to Houston. Bill Belichick blasted the playing surface the following day.
“The turf down there is terrible,” Belichick told WEEI at the time. “It’s terrible. It’s just inconsistent. It’s all the little trays of grass and some of them are soft and some of them are firm and they don’t all fit well together, those seams. … Some of it feels like a sponge, some of it feels real firm and hard like the Miami surface. One step you’re on one, the other step you’re on another. I really think it’s one of the worst fields I’ve seen.”
If the field is creating problems with safety, the Texans need to do something about it. They either need to install an artificial surface or find a better system for growing and piecing the field together. NFL fields shouldn’t have “holes.”