Seahawk: Like working in 'sweatshop'

Updated: January 10, 2013, 11:29 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The NFL Players Association told USA Today Sports that it hopes the Washington Redskins will upgrade the turf at FedEx Field after two players suffered knee injuries and the playing surface was so bad that one player said he felt like he was "working in a sweatshop."

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
John McDonnell/The Washington Post/Getty ImagesRobert Griffin III tore up his knee playing on the messy FedEx Field playing surface Sunday.

There were plenty of bare spots, and dirt was flying with many of the steps taken between the hashmarks Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks won the wild-card playoff game against the Redskins. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle defensive end Chris Clemons left the game with knee injuries.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called the playing conditions "horrible" in a radio interview earlier this week.

On Wednesday, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah weighed in on the playing conditions.

"The head coach and players have said themselves that the field was not up to snuff," Atallah told USA TODAY Sports. "We certainly hope that they upgrade it."

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said the NFL should step in if it really cares about its players.

"You care about us, but we play on that field last week that was like, 'Really? Really?' That should be illegal," Robinson said, according to USA Today Sports. "That's like working in a sweatshop to me."

The field has looked scraggly for much of a season that was front-loaded with extra events, including college football games and a Kenny Chesney concert.

"You'd like a perfect field, and it wasn't a perfect field, we all know that," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.

Shanahan said putting down a new sod in midseason might not have worked. He said he's seen new sods in San Francisco and Denver that didn't work out.

"If you do sod right, at lot of times it's good," Shanahan said. "I really thought the field was OK because I didn't see people slipping during the game. ... Therefore I don't think there's an advantage one way or a disadvantage one way."

NFL rules say the home team must certify prior to each game that the playing field meets certain conditions. There is a list of requirements, including an "Impact Hardness Test."

Shanahan said he'd be open to the idea of an artificial surface, but that he likes natural grass.

"We have that here, but for some reason here it's just not working as well," he said. "Anyway, we'll try to address that for next year."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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