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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Damage still visible from fan driving on field at Browns’ stadium

Nov 3, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam before the game against the Denver Broncos iat Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The playing surface at FirstEnergy Stadium was damaged on Tuesday by someone who managed to break into the home of the Cleveland Browns and drive a vehicle on the field. While the team maintained all week that they were confident the field would be ready for play, the marks that were left remained visible on Sunday.

FOX 8 in Cleveland reported this week that someone climbed the fence at FirstEnergy Stadium and drove a golf cart around the field. The Browns issued a statement and said police are investigating the incident.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred early Tuesday morning at FirstEnergy Stadium and have provided the Cleveland Division of Police with all relevant information. Based on our internal evaluation, there was some superficial damage to the playing field that our grounds maintenance team is currently working to repair,” the team said. “We take great pride in the strong reviews and reputation of our stadium’s playing surface, have been in touch with the NFL on the matter and are confident after repair our field will be ready for Sunday’s game vs. the Tampa Buccaneers.”

Prior to kickoff of the Bucs-Browns game, ESPN’s Jake Trotter shared a photo of the field. The tire marks on the playing surface were still very visible.

The grounds crew likely had to try to repair the marks as much as possible rather than replace the damaged grass. If they laid new sod, it would not have had enough time to root before Sunday’s game. That would have led to safety concerns for players.

With all the discussion there has been this season about playing surfaces being unsafe, the timing could not have been much worse for the Browns. Those tire marks will definitely be an eye sore. Hopefully they won’t create any safety issues.

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