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Patriots installing FieldTurf at stadium

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Nov. 14, 2006) -- The New England Patriots began installing a synthetic field surface 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 the Jets game 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 it.

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 Stadium.

The Associated Press News Service

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