When Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a knee injury in last year’s Hall of Fame Game, attention immediately turned to the turf at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Now that Suisham has been released by the Steelers, more questions should be raised about that turf.
Suisham released a statement after the Steelers cut him suggesting that the injury will prove to be career-ending.
“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last preseason was catastrophic and has proven to be critical to continuing to my career. My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads,” Suisham wrote. “I will mis the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”
Although Suisham did not actually say he’s retiring, the statement came across as a retirement announcement. Suisham did not say whether he plans to take legal action against the Steelers, the NFL or the Hall of Fame in order to recoup the millions of dollars of lost future income that a forced retirement will cost him.
Whether Suisham sues or not, it’s incumbent on the NFL to ensure that every stadium where football is played — the 31 home stadiums as well as stadiums that host preseason games, International Series games and the Pro Bowl — is safe. If the Hall of Fame Stadium can’t install turf that’s up to the standards that NFL players demand, then the Hall of Fame Stadium shouldn’t host NFL games.