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Horrible field conditions leave status of Hall of Fame game in doubt

NFL: Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

We’re under two hours away from the scheduled start of the 2016 preseason in the Hall of Fame game between the Colts and the Packers, but right now the status of the game is very much uncertain.

UPDATE: The game has been cancelled due to the field conditions.

That’s because the condition of the field in Canton pretty much sucks. There are rubber pellets all over the field, and perhaps the biggest concern is that at midfield near the logo, the turf is melted to the point where a cleat could easily get stuck. Obviously, that’s a major red flag for player safety.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, players think the surface is as hard as concrete in some areas and is unsafe to play on. NFL Network’s Michael Silver says there is “not a lot of optimism” that the game will be played and added that a coach described the situation as a “disaster.” Schefter said on ESPN tonight that it is “doubtful at best” that the game will be played, and he tweeted that both organizations are “very concerned” and that there are “real questions” about whether the game will be played.

At midfield, Hall of Fame executives, as well as members from the Colts and Packers (including Colts general manager Ryan Grigson) had a long meeting discussing the field and the playability of it. According to CBS4’s Mike Chappell, Grigson wasn’t too happy about it.

Players have been asked to leave the field, so the field is clear just 90 minutes before kickoff - a rarity.

There is honestly zero reason to play the game tonight at the Hall of Fame stadium, considering the field conditions. It’s a meaningless extra preseason game for both teams, and both the Colts and the Packers would still have four games left if the game were cancelled. There is precedent for preseason games being cancelled due to turf issues, though it’s rare. The Hall of Fame Stadium field was already bad - Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham blamed it for ending his career last year - and tonight it’s much, much worse. If I’m either team’s general manager or head coach, there’s no reason I’m sending my players out there for an extra fifth preseason game given the field conditions.

Stay tuned as we monitor the situation.