Justin Fields: I feel ‘fast’ on turf but understand push for grass

The NFLPA’s social-media push this weekend implored teams to switch from artificial turf to grass.

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Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields runs the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bears quarterback Justin Fields has been playing on artificial turf most of his life. He feels faster on it.

But he understands the NFLPA’s social-media push last weekend imploring teams to switch from artificial turf to grass.

“I do understand the injuries, cleats getting caught up in turf, stuff like that,” he said. “With the vast majority of players and guys wanting to play on grass, I’m fine playing on grass, too. But turf doesn’t bother me.”

NFLPA president J.C. Tretter is lobbying the league to move to grass at all stadiums. The union cites studies that show that NFL players had a 28% higher rate of non-contact leg injuries on artificial turf than grass between 2012 and 2018.

The union considers slit-film artificial turf — the surface used by the Jets, Giants, Lions, Vikings, Saints, Colts and Bengals —particularly dangerous.

The Falcons, the Bears’ opponent Sunday, use FieldTurf.

On Tuesday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said it was “time to go all grass throughout the league” but offered little hope it would happen.

Taco time

The Bears claimed defensive lineman Taco Charlton, a 2017 first-round pick, off waivers from the Saints’ practice squad.

Charlton played for Bears coach Matt Eberflus, who was then a linebackers coach, after the Cowboys drafted him No. 28 overall out of Michigan. In 2020, he played for the Chiefs, who employed Bears general manager Ryan Poles.

He adds depth to a defensive line that has struggled to rush the passer. He has 11œ sacks and four forced fumbles in five seasons while playing for the Cowboys, Chiefs, Dolphins and Steelers.

Eberflus said that he’ll be a “rotational player inside,” opening the door for him to rush from the defensive tackle spots on obvious passing downs.

Charlton said learning the defense “shouldn’t really take me very long” because of his familiarity with the old Cowboys scheme.

“The small details I’ll have to learn through walkthroughs and stuff like that,” he said. “But I should be able to pick it up very fast.”

Kmet sits

Tight end Cole Kmet, who was kneed in the thigh by cornerback Jeff Okudah late in the loss to the Lions, did not practice because of the injury. Kmet, who has five touchdown catches in the last three games, said Sunday that he didn’t consider the injury to be serious.

Guard Teven Jenkins, who missed Sunday’s game with a hip injury, also sat out. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad (knee) and cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) missed the Lions game and remained out Wednesday.

This and that

The Bears activated linebacker Matt Adams from injured reserve and waived veteran linebacker A.J. Klein. Klein, who was a throw-in in the Roquan Smith trade, played nine special-teams downs in two games.

• Rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon (knee) and safety Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) were limited in practice.

• Falcons tight end Feleipe Franks (calf) did not practice, and cornerback A.J. Terrell (hamstring) and safety Erik Harris (foot) were limited.

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