Patriots rip out grass at Gillette, installing FieldTurf

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots began
installing a synthetic field surface Tuesday to be used in time for
their next home game Nov. 26 against Chicago.

Heavy equipment scraped the grass and leveled the dirt beneath
it in preparation for the installation of FieldTurf, which has
become increasingly popular around the NFL. Gillette Stadium has
had natural grass since it opened in 2002.

It's the second time in less than three weeks that the field has
been worked on following complaints from Patriots players and
opponents about the lack of grass and surplus of sand up the middle
of the field for the first three home games.

The middle third of the field was resodded from goal line to
goal line in time for the game against Indianapolis on Nov. 5. The
Patriots played at Gillette Stadium again a week later against the
New York Jets. New England lost both games.

Heavy rains before last Sunday's game with the Jets and
occasional drizzle during it left much of the center strip of the
field muddy.

Before that strip was replaced last month, Patriots spokesman
Stacey James said, "We're committed to improve the field and
considering all options short and long term."

FieldTurf is a synthetic substance with long green fibers. It
has sand for stability and small rubber chips for softness added to

The Kraft family, owner of the Patriots and Gillette Stadium,
opened the field as a multipurpose venue. The New England
Revolution of MLS play their home games there. It also has been the
site this summer of concerts by Kenny Chesney, Bon Jovi and the
Rolling Stones.

The Patriots have natural grass on their two practice fields and
FieldTurf on their indoor practice field, all adjacent to Gillette