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The NFL's 100th Anniversary May Have Taken Down A.J. Green



Photo: Bryan Woolston (AP)

The first major injury of the training camp belongs to Bengals WR A.J. Green. The seven-time bowler landed awkwardly trying to make a catch in the 7-on-7 drills on Saturday, and had to be carted off the field. He left the building on crutches, and while the Bengals are hopeful it's just a sprained ankle, Green will undergo an MRI. You could chalk it to a bad luck or a century-old curse. Your choice.

The very first open practice of the summer was not held at the usual practice fields next to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. It was held in Dayton as part of the NFL's 100th anniversary celebrations, because Dayton was one of NFL's 13 original cities, and the site of the first NFL game. A charming, past-honoring reason to hold a day of camp there, but unfortunately for Green, the turf is not exactly up to modern-NFL standards.

According to Sports Illustrated, there were questions about the quality of the field even before Green got hurt

[A] fter working there for one hour on Saturday, several Bengals staffers were frustrated that Green's injury happened on a field that they saw as sub. One mentioned that players were sliding all over the place during what was a shorter-than-usual camp practice.

The practice was held at Welcome Stadium, home to the University of Dayton football team. That was not the plan, originally. The Dayton Triangles Columbus Panhandles on Oct. 3, 1920, is considered by many the first NFL game, and that site is now a public park, Triangle Park, which features baseball and soccer facilities. The NFL wanted to build a turf field at the site to host this Bengals practice, but local groups have protested the plan because Triangle Park may be the site of two separate American Indian burial grounds. After the city surveyed the proposed site of the football field with ground-penetrating radar, it called off the plans.

And so the Bengals' practice was moved to the university and its questionable field, and so Green went down. A direct line of causality that, if you are mystically inclined, goes a long way toward explaining why the Bengals are the way they are


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