'Poor' surface to blame for calf injury, Rodgers says

Ryan Wood
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes the "poor" playing surface at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa was to blame for a left calf injury that affected the end of his MVP season.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stretches his calf during the second quarter of Sunday's game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Rodgers hurt his calf in the first quarter of Green Bay's win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in late December. It was only the third time Rodgers played at Raymond James Stadium, but the second time he suffered an injury there. Rodgers also injured his shoulder while playing at Tampa in 2008.

Both injuries, Rodgers said, happened because of what he considered to be poor field conditions.

"I think that there needs to be looked at some more uniformity as far as the field conditions," Rodgers said, "because I think there are a couple surfaces that are more likely to create injury than prevent injury. There's some incredible surfaces in the NFL, and there's some ones that I think need to be looked at. Tampa is one of them because of the amount of play that I think happens there. When you put down so much sod and it's very uneven and soft, I think it can lend to more injuries."

In the old days, Green Bay would have made an annual trip to Tampa. The Packers and Bucs shared a division until the NFL split into its current divisional format in 2002.

Green Bay still shares a division with Chicago, which plays its home games at Soldier Field. The grass surface at Soldier Field is considered among the worst in the NFL, but Rodgers said he doesn't have a problem with it.

"It's an anomaly because the grass is so long," Rodgers said, "but it has the firmness to it that allows for footing and proper movements so long as you have the right cleats on."

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