If there’s anyone on the Patriots who can relate to what Aaron Rodgers is going through after suffering a season-ending injury at MetLife Stadium, it’s Jabrill Peppers.
He believes playing on a turf surface could have avoided the torn ACL he suffered in 2021. Peppers was in his contract year at the time and playing for the Giants.
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“I tore my ACL on that same field. However, mine wasn’t a non-contact injury, but if it was grass, my foot wouldn’t have gotten stuck and I wouldn’t have done it,” Peppers said, shifting his weight and making a loud noise. sharp noise to demonstrate what happened to his knee.
“But it is what it is,” Peppers continued. “I take it on the chin and try to stay away from those situations. Keep my feet under me more on the turf. You don’t want to go out of your box, that’s also how you get into trouble with the turf. You want to play fast, but you also want to be safe to get through the season.
Boston.com asked five Patriots players if they preferred playing on turf or turf. All five picked grass.
“I think it’s just a little easier on the joints,” linebacker Josh Uche said. “The whole point of grass is that it gives more, so the pressure you put on the ground doesn’t immediately go up into your ankles and your tendons and everything else.
“I think it will always be a plus for the players,” Uche continued. “When you have something that will take some of the force away from hard contact with the ground.”
Following Rodgers’ injury, NFLPA executive director Lloyd Howell issued a statement asking every NFL team to switch to turf surfaces. Players have been calling for this change for years, Peppers said, but there hasn’t been enough traction to make it happen.
“It’s crazy that it took A-Rod (Aaron Rodgers) for them to notice, which sucks,” wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said. “But we’ll see what happens.”
Rodgers’ injury has brought attention to the issue, which is a priority for NFLPA player representatives, Uche said.
“Just the magnitude of it being a Monday night game and everyone tuning in,” Uche said. “Some fans weren’t even aware of what was happening, but everyone was watching this match. Seeing this happen and the consequences of people associating this with the turf vs. grass debate brings a lot of awareness, just with the popularity of Aaron Rodgers himself. This sheds a lot of light on this.
Peppers said he had noted FIFA’s insistence on having grass surfaces for soccer matches at the next World Cup in 2026.
NFL players are typically bigger, stronger and more explosive athletes than professional football players, and the football organization always wants a surface that will reduce the risk of injury, Peppers said.
Peppers feels a deep passion for this issue, but says he has given up hope that things will change soon. There’s no point getting upset about something that won’t change, he says.
“We’ve been trying to do this for 3-4 years now, man…there’s no real incentive for change,” Peppers said. “There are players everywhere ready to play. You could tell them to play in the parking lot, I’m one of those guys too, and they’d want to sit there and do that.
“Do I hope that changes?” Yes. Do I think this will be the case? No,” Peppers explained. “Do I care anyway? No. Whatever God’s plan is, it’s God’s plan. I’m just going to go out there and play hard and fast on whatever surface we’re playing on and put it in God’s hands.
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