Originally created 10/09/01

NFL rep inspects Carolina's field



CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An NFL official inspected Carolina's field on Monday to check the progress the Panthers have made in trying to improve their turf before they play on it this weekend.

Tim Davey, the league's assistant director of game operations, walked the field at Ericsson Stadium and inspected the new sod. The field was awful two weeks ago, with large chunks of grass getting ripped up and huge divots developing throughout Carolina's game against Green Bay.

Carolina hosts the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and team officials have been working frantically to get the grass in shape. They installed 20,000 square feet of a new, thicker sod, which Davey came to Charlotte to see.

"He seemed pleased with the outlook for the weekend," said Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton, adding that Carolina owner Jerry Richardson had invited the league to come inspect the field.

Dayton was not sure if the NFL Players Association would also come see the field, but said Richardson had recently spoken with Executive Director Gene Upshaw to inform the NFLPA of Carolina's efforts.

The grounds crew worked through the night last Friday laying the new sod, finally finishing early Saturday morning. Crews were still treating it Monday, making it off limits for reporters to inspect.

But Carolina coach George Seifert said he was confident the field would be in good condition by Sunday and anticipated taking the team onto it before the end of the week to let the players look at it.

"I'm as confident as I can be because we have so many people working so hard on it," Seifert said.

The Panthers first had trouble with the field this spring after groundskeepers overseeded last year. The Bermuda 419 grass never took and the Panthers decided to re-sod the field after the team's final preseason game Aug. 31.

That new sod never rooted and the field came apart in chunks when Carolina played Green Bay.

Unlike the previous sod, the new DuraTurf doesn't have to root into the ground to hold. The weight of the sod - a 50-foot roll weighs approximately 2,700 pounds - is enough to secure it in place and withstand the weight and movement of football players.

The new sod was laid down the entire length of the field, but only on the middle of the field from hashmark to hashmark.

DuraTurf Service Corp. of Richmond, Va., installed the new sod.