NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL Players Association wants the league to switch all its fields to natural grass, calling it “the easiest decision the NFL can make.”

Executive director Lloyd Howell issued a statement Wednesday morning saying NFL players “overwhelmingly prefer it and the data is clear that grass is simply safer than artificial turf.” Howell said the issue “has been near the top of the players’ list during my team visits and one I have raised with the NFL.”

The players’ union called for the change less than 48 hours after a season-ending injury to four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon in his debut with the New York Jets on Monday night.

Howell said in his statement they know there is an investment to making such a change. But he said there’s a bigger cost to the NFL if the league keeps losing its best players to “unnecessary injuries.” He noted the NFL flips surfaces to grass for World Cup or soccer exhibitions.

“But artificial surfaces are acceptable for our own players,” Howell said. “This is worth the investment and it simply needs to change now.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday on ESPN’s “First Take” that the playing surface is a “complex issue,” and part of the collective bargaining agreement covered the use of science to measure injuries. The league and the union use the same data to gauge injuries.


Goodell noted Rodgers had one of two Achilles tendon injuries in the NFL’s first week, with the other on grass.

“That is where we make decisions, on the basis of science, not because I see an injury that I don’t like,” Goodell said. “Ultimately, I want our experts to come back and give it to us and that is why we have engaged with this process and actually accelerated the process with the NFLPA to be able to get that kind of data so we can make those kinds of decisions.”

A new artificial surface was installed this year at MetLife Stadium. Jets Coach Robert Saleh said Tuesday that he didn’t see the surface as being an issue in Rodgers’ injury. The 39-year-old quarterback got hurt when he was taken down by Bills defender Leonard Floyd.

“If it was a non-contact injury, then I think that would be something to discuss, obviously,” Saleh said. “But that was kind of forceable, I think that was trauma induced. I do know the players prefer grass and there is a lot invested in those young men.”

• Saleh doesn’t believe this will be all Jets fans see of Aaron Rodgers.

“I haven’t gone down that road with him. I mean, I’d be shocked if this is the way he’s gonna go out,” Saleh told reporters during his press conference on Wednesday. “But at the same time, for him, he’s working through a whole lot of headspace things that he needs to deal with. And that will be the last thing I talk to him about.”


PANTHERS: Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn has what Coach Frank Reich called a “serious” hamstring injury that may require surgery. Reich said Horn is getting a second medical opinion.

The Panthers haven’t decided whether to put Horn on IR, but Reich indicated that is an option. Horn, a first-round pick in 2021, missed 18 of 34 games in his previous two seasons in the league. Troy Hill likely will see increased playing time with Horn’s injury.

The Panthers also placed guard Brady Christensen on injured reserve with a biceps injury, leaving them without both starting guards for Monday night’s home opener against New Orleans. He will miss at least four weeks.

Carolina already was without guard Austin Corbett, who has not played since tearing an ACL in last year’s regular-season finale.

BEARS: Coach Matt Eberflus didn’t shoot down the idea that wide receiver Chase Claypool could be inactive this week after a poor performance against Green Bay on Sunday.

Claypool’s ineffective blocking and zero catches on two targets – including a first-quarter drop on third-and-7 that forced the Bears to settle for a field goal – has brought up questions about consequences for the embattled receiver.


Eberflus said he wouldn’t talk about which players will be inactive Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for competitive reasons, but he noted the Bears are “looking at all possibilities right now” when asked specifically about Claypool.

RAMS: Rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett has been placed on the non-football injury list.

Coach Sean McVay wouldn’t give any details Wednesday about the reason for the move with Bennett, who led Georgia to the past two national championships before Los Angeles drafted him in the fourth round.

“There are certain things that I think are a little bit bigger and more important, and out of respect for the particulars and the specifics, (I) want to be able to keep it in-house,” McVay said.

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