Panthers ask to return to natural grass to avoid injuries

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Several Carolina Panthers players have asked team owner David Tepper to replace the current artificial turf at Bank of America Stadium with a natural grass field to prevent injuries.

Receiver DJ Moore said team leaders have spoken multiple times this season with Tepper about his desire to return to the natural grass field, but don’t know if they are considering any changes.

The outdoor, open-air Bank of America Stadium was built in 1995 and featured natural grass until spring 2021.

But Tepper opted for FieldTurf as part of a $50 million renovation project after receiving an expansion team from Major League Soccer.

They made the decision in part because of cost and practicality as a venue for various activities, including NFL games, MLS games, two or three college football games a year, and concerts by the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Kenny. Chesney.

“It’s probably going to take all of us to stop training to get natural grass,” Panther linebacker Shaq Thompson conceded. “I mean, they generate enough revenue from us to maintain the turf. I hate to say it, but under the previous owner (Jerry Richardson) we had natural grass. Listen to your players. We want to play on grass.”

An attempt to seek comment from Tepper through the public relations office on Monday was unsuccessful.

Several NFL players have recently spoken publicly about the increase in injuries due to artificial turf, and the league Players Association has asked six venues to improve conditions. Bank of America Stadium is not among the six mentioned by the NFLPA.

Panthers tight end Tommy Tremble has supported natural grass and is more convinced since cornerback Donte Jackson — who has the locker room next to his — fractured his Achilles tendon in Carolina’s 25-15 win over Atlanta on Thursday .

He called the injury “stupid” and unnecessary.

Tremble believes Tepper will eventually listen to his players, though it could take time.

Moore reiterated that the issue has been discussed with Tepper on several occasions — and now they have to wait.

“At the end of the day, he has the last call,” Moore admitted.

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Panthers ask to return to natural grass to avoid injuries