Ben Roethlisberger Blames FieldTurf for David DeCastro's Injury

ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 25: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers.throws against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

At first blush, it's fair to suggest Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger does not like FieldTurf, the artificial surface many stadiums use instead of natural grass.

He told NFL Network Saturday night FieldTurf is "just killing guys because they can't get their feet out of the ground, and it's just another reason we should get rid of FieldTurf."

While it's certainly a concern with others in the league, it's fair to point out the Steelers' starters have suffered five significant knee injuries in their last five games - NT Casey Hampton and LT Max Starks at Denver in last year's playoffs, FB/TE David Johnson against Philadelphia in the preseason-opener and RB Rashard Mendenhall in Week 17 at Cleveland before DeCastro went down Saturday - but only DeCastro's came on FieldTurf.

Denver, Philadelphia and Cleveland use a hybrid of natural grass and artificial filler used to increase strength and longevity. Heinz Field is a natural surface as well, using something similar to what's used in Denver and Cleveland.

That isn't to suggest Roethlisberger's concerns aren't valid, it just goes to show the violent nature of the game leads to such injuries regardless of the playing surface.

It's a coincidence, but none of those four knee injuries suffered by Steelers starters came at Heinz Field, ironically, one of the most criticized playing surfaces in the NFL.

Perhaps there is some merit to what Roethlisberger is saying in regards to players' cleats being a little more difficult to remove from the cushy, rubber-based surface, but it seems more reasonable to chalk the injuries up to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


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