Browns Scramble to Ready Field After Apparent Vehicular Vandalism | Athletic Business

Browns Scramble to Ready Field After Apparent Vehicular Vandalism

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A driver appears to have damaged the field at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium just days before the Browns are to host Tampa Bay on Sunday in a Week 12 NFL matchup.

As reported by Tyler Greenwalt of Yahoo! Sports, citing Cleveland's ABC affiliate WEWS, the stadium grounds crew found tire tread marks in the shape of circles spanning almost half of the western side of the field. FirstEnergy Stadium uses Kentucky Bluegrass rather than synthetic turf.

“We are aware of the incident that occurred early Tuesday morning at FirstEnergy Stadium and have provided the Cleveland Division of Police with all relevant information," the Browns said in a statement. "Based on our internal evaluation, there was some superficial damage to the playing field that our grounds maintenance team is currently working to repair. We take great pride in the strong reviews and reputation of our stadium’s playing surface, have been in touch with the NFL on the matter and are confident after repair our field will be ready for Sunday’s game vs. the Tampa Buccaneers.”

Field maintenance experts who spoke with WESW said the short timeline could pose problems for potential repairs because the grounds crew will likely fill in any deep ruts with thick clay-based topsoil. The soil will then need to be packed tightly to prevent sinking. The crew cannot use regular sod for repairs because that would require a minimum of two weeks to fully root, Yahoo! Sports reported.

"Sod has a rooting-in period where the roots have to adhere to the soil so it actually sticks to the ground," Anthony Pagano of Sterner's Sod told WESW, according to Yahoo! Sports. "If you don’t give that the proper amount of time, you can go ahead and take that piece right up off the ground. It’s not going to adhere. It’s going to be a safety issue for the players."

Last week, the NFL Players Association raised concerns that certain types of synthetic turf could pose safety hazards.

Related: NFLPA Sounds Alarm on Safety Issues With Certain Playing Surfaces

According to Yahoo! Sports, MetLife Stadium, one of six on the NFLPA's list of venues with surface issues, has already announced that it will replace its field next season, though it will introduce a new synthetic turf versus natural grass.

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