When faced with questions about whether Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is sitting out games on artificial turf to protect his injured knee, head coach Matt LaFleur got testy.
Bakhtiari has been a vocal critic of artificial turf, especially after his good friend Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles tendon on a turf field in Week One. Then when Bakhtiari played the Packers’ Week One game on grass but sat out the Packers’ Week Two game on artificial turf, questions were raised about whether Bakhtiari’s knee can’t withstand the stress that turf puts on it.
Those questions came in part as a result of a tweet from Bakhtiari’s older brother, former Titans and 49ers linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, that many people interpreted as suggesting the NFL had fucked around with artificial turf and found out that it results in highly paid players like David Bakhtiari being unable to play.
Faced with the questions from reporters, LaFleur initially indicated that it was simply a matter of Bakhtiari’s injured knee not being healthy enough for him to play.
“His knee is injured. There was swelling,” LaFleur said.
Asked whether Bakhtiari would have played on the grass at Lambeau Field, LaFleur answered, “I don’t believe so.”
When a reporter began a follow-up question with, “Just to clarify,” LaFleur interrupted.
“That’s it. Just to clarify, I’m done talking about it,” LaFleur said. “I’m not talking about it.”
LaFleur may be done talking about it, but the grass vs. turf discussion in the NFL is a long way from over. And everyone will be watching Bakhtiari this year to see whether he continues what he has done so far this season, playing on grass and sitting out on turf.