Clowney said he stepped in field hole

ByTania Ganguli via ESPN logo
Monday, September 8, 2014

HOUSTON -- Immediately after Texansoutside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney suffered a knee injury that ended his NFL debut, he told safety D.J. Swearinger he stepped in one of the holes in the Texans' home field, Swearinger told NFL Network.

Clowney, the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, is expected to miss some time with the injury, and it's not the first time the Texans' field has taken the blame for a player's injury.

In 2010, after then-Patriots receiver Wes Welker suffered a torn ACL and MCL on the field, Patriots coach Bill Belichick called the surface "terrible."

In 2012, former punter Brett Hartmann sued the county agency that runs NRG Stadium, saying he suffered a torn ACL because the field was unsafe.

"I think our field is great," then-Texans coach Gary Kubiak said at the time. "I think our guys do a great job. That's all I got to say."

The Texans' field is grass, but it is removed in squares after each game. Those squares are placed together before each game, which often leads to an uneven playing surface with seams where the squares join together.

On Aug. 6, the soccer team AC Milan refused to come out of its locker room initially because of the condition of the field at NRG Stadium. It was not the same grass on which the Texans play, but Texans coach Bill O'Brien addressed the Texans field conditions the next day.

"I'm a believer in natural grass, but at the same time I think we've got to do our part as an organization to make sure that our field is in good shape," O'Brien said on Aug. 7. "Now that field last night I know was not our football field, but you know, I know for a fact that [team owner Bob] McNair or [general manager] Rick Smith and myself are always talking about how to improve things. The field, we feel good about at this point, our field, but we'll see how it plays out as the year goes on."

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