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'It was like concrete' | Panthers agree with Lions' complaints about frozen turf

The NFLPA is expected to file a grievance against Carolina and the NFL over the conditions of the field on Christmas Eve.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the NFL Players Association expected to file a grievance against the Carolina Panthers and NFL over turf conditions for the Christmas Eve game against the Detroit Lions, it appears Panthers players agree with the Lions' complaints.

"It was like concrete, to be honest with you," Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said. "I was slipping everywhere."

It was the coldest home game in Panthers' history, with a game-time kickoff temperature of 20 degrees. Taking wind chill into account, it felt like nine degrees.

"It was definitely the hardest field I've played on," Carolina Panthers guard Austin Corbett said. "And a lot of guys are saying the same thing. My body took a beating, for sure."

An NFL source told WCNC Charlotte the field conditions actually improved during game play and once the temperatures started to rise, but Thompson disagreed.

"No, they didn't improve," Thompson said. "It was concrete."

Several Panthers players, especially Thompson, have been vocal about team owner David Tepper switching from natural grass to an artificial surface ahead of the 2021 season in order to accommodate concerts and other events.

"I hope he listens to his players," Thompson said. "Wear and tear is bad for your joints on that turf. Grass gives a little bit. You can still get injuries on grass, but at least your body, it gives a little bit."

Tepper did make an exception over the summer in order to lure Chelsea FC in for a friendly match against Charlotte F.C., acquiescing to the English Premier League club's request for natural grass.

"I know it probably costs a lot more, but it's worth it for your players," Thompson said.

Contact Nick Carboni at ncarboni@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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