The 49ers cut short their practice on Wednesday, attended by thousands of fans, because of safety concerns over the turf. According to CSN Bay Area, large divots in the turf kept coming up during practice, including when receiver Stevie Johnson fell hard on a normal out route.
According to CSN Bay Area, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh took his team off the Levi's Stadium field after Johnson's fall and the players finished practice at the team facility, which is right next to the stadium. Harbaugh took his team off the torn-up field less than an hour into practice.
“The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today’s practice ending early," the team said in a statement. "We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers.”
A helicopter news crew found that the 49ers were already in the process of tearing out a large stretch of the turf, and will replace it before Sunday's game:
Again, if you're going to spend more than $1 billion on a new stadium, it's fantastic if the Wi-Fi works well but the turf needs to hold up longer than just one preseason game. The 49ers and Broncos played the first NFL game on the field last Sunday. The 49ers had a couple of practices on the field before Wednesday, there was a soccer match on the field and a concert too. That shouldn't wear out a turf, although there are challenges with sodding a brand new field. CSN Bay Area said the turf was discolored in patches from Sunday's game, and it hadn't taken root yet.
The turf was a Bermuda Bandera grass, which the team said required 50 percent less water than the average turf in the Bay Area. That's very eco-friendly, but it didn't hold up to much wear and tear.
As CSN Bay Area points out, Levi's Stadium is set to host Sunday's preseason game against the Chargers, two high-school games on Aug. 29 and an international soccer match on Sept. 6. We'll see how the turf holds up through that. The 49ers' home regular-season opener is Sept. 14.
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