No one ever said opening up a brand-new state-of-the-art stadium would be a seamless process. And the San Francisco 49ers are finding that out firsthand right now. A day after head coach Jim Harbaugh pulled his team out of practice at Levi’s Stadium, crews are working quickly to replace the turf in time for the 49ers third preseason game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Harbaugh decided to end the final open practice of training camp early on Wednesday when wide receiver Stevie Johnson slipped on the sod and cut up his knee.
Stevie Johnson got up, appeared to be OK, but coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke were clearly upset with conditions at Levi’s Stadium.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) August 21, 2014
John Legend held a private concert at Levi’s the week before San Francisco opened the stadium for football play against the Denver Broncos last Sunday. In addition to that, MLS held a match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders earlier in August. Both events seemed to have played a role in what were obviously less-than-stellar field conditions at Levi’s.
The stadium also has multiple high school football games planned prior to San Francisco’s regular season home debut against the Chicago Bears in Week 2.
For Harbaugh to pull his team off the field in mid practice, the conditions had to be bad. Instead of risking potential injury, he decided it made sense to move the practice to San Francisco’s normal weekday facility near the stadium itself.
As it relates to the game against San Diego this Sunday, the 49ers expect the turf to be ready to go.
Local media has been all over this hiccup, which makes sense considering that Levi’s is considered one of the best venues for football in the United States. But they seem to be making a bit too much of this. The field will be 100 percent and ready to go when real football starts in September. If anything, the 49ers may decide to hold off on the high school games scheduled to take place at Levi’s.