49ers GM John Lynch hopes NFL switches to all-grass fields someday

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Ali Thanawalla
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John Lynch hopes NFL switches to all-grass fields someday originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The 49ers would be very happy if they never saw another artificial turf field this season. Or ever, for that matter.

Injuries sustained on the turf at MetLife Stadium decimated the 49ers' roster the last two weeks, putting a huge dent in their hopes of repeating as NFC champions.

On Wednesday, NFL Players Association president JC Tretter, the Cleveland Browns center, wrote a column calling for the NFL to only allow natural grass fields.

One day later, 49ers general manager John Lynch joined Tretter in the call for all-grass fields throughout the league.

"There are some things we can't run from," Lynch said Thursday on "The Rich Eisen Show" on Peacock. "On artificial surfaces, there's a greater risk. That's just the facts, so JC Tretter came out yesterday and called for all-grass fields. I can't blame him. I'm with him, in fact.

"So, I know over in the Premier League, their players refuse to play on anything but [real grass]. I don't know if we are to that, but I hope someday we can get there, and we've got to do everything we can to keep our most important assets and the guys that make the game, the players, healthy. I think that would be a great step."

In the 49ers' Week 2 win over the New York Jets, defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas both suffered season-ending ACL injuries. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss his second consecutive game this Sunday. Starting running back Raheem Mostert sustained a sprained MCL and also will miss the game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Following the win over the Jets, the 49ers asked the NFL to investigate the MetLife turf before their Week 3 game against the New York Giants on the same field. The league determined that the surface was safe, and the 49ers played the game there as scheduled last Sunday.

Tight end Jordan Reed did suffer a sprained knee, but according to Lynch, the 49ers were satisfied with the league's investigation.

"I think our team was in a rough state," Lynch told Eisen. "They care about their teammates a lot, and we had lost a number of players in that game. I don't think someone said something that was out of line. I think they said what was on their heart at the time. I credit the league, the PA, they all listened and they did a thorough investigation. I think that helped clear our players' minds."

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Lynch also made it clear that he understands converting all NFL stadiums from artificial surfaces to grass is a complicated issue. SoFi Stadium, for instance, is the new home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. With two teams sharing the stadium, there's a game there almost every weekend, so keeping a natural grass field in good playing condition for 16-plus weeks is difficult.

But Lynch and Tretter are two prominent voices in the NFL. If they talk loud enough about this issue, the league might be forced to act sooner rather than later.

After the afternoon NFL games end Sunday, go to NBC Sports Bay Area or the MyTeams app at 4 p.m. PT for "49ers Pregame Live," as Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams, Matt Maiocco, Jennifer Lee Chan and Grant Liffmann preview the "Sunday Night Football" matchup against the Eagles. Then, after the game, come back for "49ers Postgame Live," with highlights, analysis, interviews and more.