Calais Campbell Wants Grass Fields, NFLPA Collecting Data to Make Pitch

MetLife Stadium

The Ravens lost two players to season-ending injuries at MetLife Stadium in Week 1, and now they're headed back five weeks later with their fingers crossed.

In Week 1, offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James suffered a torn Achilles and cornerback Kyle Fuller got his cleat stuck in the turf and suffered a torn ACL.

The artificial turf has long been scrutinized for taking out players and came under more fire this season when top Giants wide receiver Sterling Shephard suffered a non-contact knee injury. Giants running back Saquon Barkley said he is “not really a fan” of turf.

"No one likes the turf," running back J.K. Dobbins said Thursday. "As the older guys would say, like, 'Man, it hurts my body.' Maybe that's true. Maybe I'll start feeling that as I continue on in my career. But it is terrible."

After the Ravens' Week 1 game at MetLife Stadium, Head Coach John Harbaugh said this about turf surfaces:

"Everybody in this league should do everything they can to put the best surface out there. How much is invested in the players who go out there and play? Our league really is — it's a player-driven league. And we want those guys to have the best of the best, especially surfaces to play on ... That turf [at MetLife] was matted down, it was packed down, it was a little tight. Maybe that's how it's supposed to be, I don't know. But that's what I saw. It was a little tough."

Heading into Sunday's game, Harbaugh and the Ravens have bigger things to worry about than the turf. The Giants are 4-1 and post a stiff challenge to a Baltimore team coming off a big win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

However, Ravens veteran defensive tackle Calais Campbell is a leading voice with the NFLPA, and it's a long-term project he is working on. Campbell said the NFLPA is working to collect data behind their claims that turf is more dangerous to player health than grass so they can make a pitch to the NFL to standardize fields.

"The biggest thing is keeping the players healthy so we can be out there and play good football and give a good game to the fans," Campbell said. "It's definitely something that's been on our mind as the leadership of the NFLPA. The NFL is usually receptive. They just want data, they want numbers."

The Ravens and M&T Bank Stadium switched to a natural grass surface in 2016. While Campbell understands that it costs money to re-do fields, and the changes won't happen overnight, he's hoping MetLife Stadium gets updated soon.

"This field definitely is one that you've got to go out there and play football and just hope God is protecting you out there," Campbell said. "You have to block it out. You can't sit there and worry about it because that's when the worst happens.

"I love playing on grass. Grass is the best field you can play on, in my opinion. Some turf fields are better than others, though, and we need a standard across the NFL."

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