Commanders’ Tyler Larsen blasts MetLife turf after devastating injury
By Jerry Trotta
Washington Commanders fans can’t help but hold their breath whenever the team travels to play the New York Giants. While the Giants haven’t been relevant in nearly a decade before 2022, the MetLife Stadium turf has snatched countless ligaments and tendons over the years. Tyler Larsen joined the ever-growing list on Sunday.
Thrust into the starting lineup after finishing his recovery from Achilles surgery, Larsen was quietly instrumental during Washington’s 6-1 stretch by providing stability to a center position that really struggled following Chase Roullier’s injury.
The platoon of Wes Schweitzer and Nick Martin wasn’t cutting it.
While Schweitzer’s familiarity was a huge plus, his snaps put Carson Wentz in compromised positions. Martin, meanwhile, was signed in mid-September. Already a tall ask getting acclimated to the playbook mid-season, that process was expedited after Schweitzer went on injured reserve with a concussion.
Long story short, Larsen’s been a godsend. Unfortunately, he became the latest victim of MeLife’s widely-panned turf on Sunday, and he took a blatant shot at the Giants (and the NFL seemingly) advocating for safer playing surfaces.
Commanders’ Tyler Larsen takes subtle shot at MetLife turf after devastating injury.
Good on Larsen for standing up for a good cause. He isn’t the first player — and he certainly won’t be the last — to publicly condemn MetLife Stadium’s turf, or turf in general. Earlier this season, Giants receiver Sterling Shepard suffered a torn ACL by merely coasting into a jog following a go route.
The turf monster was real in this instance, and its track record is alarming. The likes of Ja’Waun James and Kyle Fuller suffered Achilles and ACL tears this year alone. In 2021, the turf infamously claimed Nick Bosa’s ACL. Just minutes later, 49ers teammate and fellow edge rusher Solomon Thomas tore his ACL. Before the start of the 2022 season, Bosa sounded off on turf being a “problem for the NFL.”
In Larsen’s case, but his left foot got caught in the artificial surface, putting his right knee in a compromised position. The final verdict? Per The Athletic’s Ben Standing, the veteran center suffered a dislocated kneecap. It’s unclear if he’ll miss the rest of the season, but all signs point to that being the case.
Just a brutal turn of events for Larsen, and the Commanders, who were 6-1 with Larsen starting at center. For Larsen, though, he’s set to become a free agent in March. Following another season-ending injury (torn Achilles last year), you can’t help but speculate how this news might alter Washington’s stance on bringing him back.
Prior to the injury, Larsen was surely a favorite to be re-signed for depth on the offensive line. Now, anything is possible.
All because of MetLife Stadium’s turf. For a league that places so much emphasis on player safety, it seemingly doesn’t care all that much about ensuring players are competing on safer playing surfaces every Sunday.