49ers complain about playing surface at MetLife Stadium

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Players gather around an injured person during the first half of an NFL football game between the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers at a nearly empty MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin)

The San Francisco 49ers contacted the NFL on Monday about the conditions of the playing surface at MetLife Stadium after several players went down with injuries in a victory over the New York Jets.

The new artificial surface was used in a game for the second time on Sunday. The 49ers players complained before the game that the turf was “sticky.” Those complaints only grew louder after defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, and running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman all had knee injuries, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sprained his ankle.

The Jets lost receiver Breshad Perriman to a sprained left ankle in the game.

San Francisco general manager John Lynch contacted NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent on Monday about the condition of the field. The Niners will play again at MetLife Stadium on Sunday when they visit the New York Giants.

“They’re definitely looking into it,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “So hopefully at some time we get some answers back that can make our players feel a little bit more at ease playing there next week.”

The NFL says the field was inspected two days before the Giants-Steelers game on Sept. 14 and certified to be in compliance with all league policies. Also, home teams must certify that their fields are in compliance with NFL rules 72 hours before each game and the Jets did that before this game.

No one complained about the field after the first game there.

Giants coach Joe Judge says his team held several walkthroughs and two scrimmages on the field before the opener, with no one complaining about the surface.

Receiver Golden Tate, who missed the Giants’ first home game with a hamstring injury, said he believes the lack of an offseason program might have had a bigger impact than the turf.

“I can’t help but think that has something to do with it,” he said. “But as far as MetLife field, I think it is fine. But again, also personally having played a game on it this year, our guys did well I thought.”

Jets coach Adam Gase said Sunday was the second time his team played on the turf and they haven’t had any knee injuries.

Jets tackle George Fant said the surface wasn’t an issue for him.

“I didn’t feel anything too crazy, myself,” he said. “Yeah, I did hear that guys didn’t like the field or thought it may have caused an issue. I can’t really answer that, though, because I’m not sure.”

Shanahan said the team will look into possibly wearing different style of shoes this week to deal with potential issues with the field.

But the players are concerned after what they experienced Sunday.

“A lot of anxiety,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “You see guys you love go down and get hurt. We have to come back here and play again on the same surface. That’s anxiety provoking to see that happen and know that you have to deal with it again.”

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AP Pro Football Writers Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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