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A.J. Green Injury Happened on Subpar Field After NFL Scrapped Plans to Build Turf Over Native

We saw our first major injury of training camp happen just days after players reported as A.J. Green went down with torn ligaments in his ankle at Bengals camp on Saturday. Injuries are a part of the game, but it’s never fun to see talented guys like Green go down.

From the sounds of it, though, this wasn’t just your average unlucky twist of the ankle that led to Green’s sidelining. The Bengals were practicing at Dayton University’s Welcome Field as a part of the league’s 100-year anniversary celebration. This wasn’t the original plan. The NFL had intended for Cincinnati to practice at Triangle Field, on which the very first NFL game was played. They planned to drop some dough and build a turf field that the Bengals would feel comfortable playing on.

Upon further investigation, it turns out Triangle Field was built on a Native American burial ground, and the NFL would be digging it up if they installed a turf field there. It’s good they checked before breaking ground, but that also is probably a thing to know before making any plans in the first place. Welcome Field was the backup, and from the sounds of it, the field may not have been in the best of shape. SI’s Albert Breer reported Bengals staffers were not pleased with the state of the playing field, and players were sliding around on what was called “subpar” ground.

So to summarize: the NFL, in their effort to promote their 100th season, planned for the Bengals to practice in Dayton on a brand-new turf field. They then realized it would affect a Native American burial ground, and made a last-second switch to Welcome Field, which wasn’t in tip-top shape, and Cincinnati’s star wide receiver goes down. Not great.

Life hasn’t exactly been easy for Bengals fans over the last two decades. This doesn’t help matters. While Breer did say there’s no direct correlation between the state of the field and Green’s injury, it isn’t exactly a stretch to connect those dots. This could have been a lot worse, but it also could have been a lot better.