During the final two minutes of Monday’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard walked a route and went down with a non-contact knee injury. Shepard didn’t cut and had no one around when the injury occurred.
Shepard eventually had to be taken off the field and his season is over after a torn ACL.
Shortly after Shepard suffered the devastating injury, free agent Odell Beckham Jr. about the situation. He took to social media to share his belief that NFL teams should do away with turf and play entirely on grass to avoid serious injuries like this one.
“Just put it all away buddy,” Beckham tweeted after Shepard’s injury. “Made billions from this game. I don’t understand why we can’t play on grass. That shxt is rough. Prayers for my brother. Shxt just hurt my heart.”
Beckham, who was a Giants teammate to Shepard from 2016-2018, knows all too well how quickly a player’s time on the field can end on an artificial playing surface.
During Super Bowl LVI, Beckham sustained a torn ACL while playing for the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium, which has artificial turf. Beckham has rehabilitated his way back to a clean bill of health but remains a free agent with three weeks of the 2022 NFL season on the books.
Beckham is not alone in advocating for the league to switch to grass-only. In 2020, the president of the NFL Players Association, JC Tretter, published an essay requesting the NFL to use natural grass playing surfaces instead of artificial pitches.
“Our line-up is dangerous enough, and the increased number of lower limb injuries associated with the field we are supposed to play on is unacceptable. The NFLPA is advocating that teams convert artificial practice and playing fields to natural grass pitches,” Tretter said. . “In the meantime, we are competing on behalf of our players to develop better safety standards and testing methods for synthetic turf. There is room for innovation by synthetic turf manufacturers, but until the risk of injury on grass mirrors the risk on grass, playing on grass is not in the best interest of our players.”
Only time will tell if players’ wishes will ever come true.