The drumbeat for the NFL to ban artificial turf — particularly at MetLife Stadium — will only grow louder after Miami Dolphins pass rusher Jaelan Phillips suffered what appears to be an Achilles tendon tear in the league’s first Black Friday game.
Phillips was coming out of his stance to rush the passer Friday when his entire right calf rippled, a clear sign that he suffered an Achilles injury and, almost certainly, a tear.
Miami Dolphins Rip MetLife Stadium Turf
It was just the latest casualty of New York/New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, which continues to end seasons even after the Giants and Jets replaced the notorious playing surface this past offseason.
Cleats tend to stick more in artificial turf than they do natural grass, and the NFLPA is already on record calling for the abolishment of fake grass.
#Dolphins pass rusher Jaelan Phillips goes down with a non-contact injury on this play and has to be carted off the field.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 24, 2023
If Dolphins players were not onboard with the initiative before, they almost certainly will be now. If the Jets played on grass and not turf, they might still have one of their best defensive players for the stretch run.
“It’s tough, especially playing on this turf,” Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert said after the game. “No player wants to go down with a significant injury. You saw what happened to [Aaron] Rodgers, very first game, first series.
“It just sucks. For JP, I know he’s going to get his mental right and be back stronger and better than ever. But we’ve got to do something about this turf and this playing surface. Obviously, it’s still a major problem, even with trying to figure out what we can do. I don’t know. It just has to change.”
Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert on the turf field at MetLife Stadium:
“We have to do something about this” pic.twitter.com/YkcLQeo6AZ
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) November 24, 2023
Dolphins safety Jevon Holland was even more blunt.
“My rookie year, my homeboy ended up going down [at MetLife Stadium], Jamal Perry,” Holland said. “Kind of the same thing. I don’t know the statistics or anything like that, but I do know that turf does increase your chances of getting hurt, so that field’s trash.”
Phillips — who reportedly left MetLife on crutches and in a walking boot — will undergo additional tests Saturday to confirm his Achilles is torn, but the Dolphins seemed resigned to the fact that he is out for the season.
“It doesn’t look great, but we’ll find out more tomorrow,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said after the game. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but not fired up about it.”
McDaniel added, per the Miami Herald: “[Jaelan is] the type of person and he has the right mindset where he’ll be able to turn anything that’s perceived as negative into a potential positive. But this is going to be tough and trying for him.”
McDaniel: “(Jaelan is) the type of person and he has the right mindset where he'll be able to turn anything that's perceived as negative into a potential positive. But this is going to be tough and trying for him.” https://t.co/6PORoXEbSm
— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) November 24, 2023
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