CANTON, Ohio — An emotional and invigorating Hall of Fame weekend came to a grinding halt Sunday night when the Packers-Colts game was canceled because of poor field conditions.
One day after Brett Favre led the eight-member class of 2016 into the hall, its president, David Baker announced the cancellation after discussing problems with the turf with both teams. He said it was a safety issue, and all fans would be fully refunded for ticket purchases, which will cost the hall several million dollars.
"This is a hard decision, but we know it is the right decision," he said. "In some respects a hard decision because of the impact it has. This is an important game to the people in Canton."
The NFL and NFL Players Association said in a statement: "We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight."
Baker noted that the field was new and had been approved when inspected after its first installation. But paint congealed at midfield and in the end zone, hardening those areas. Workers used a variety of equipment to smooth the artificial surface. Rubber pellets used in the turf came loose and were scattered in several spots and needed to be removed, as well.
"We know a lot of you came a long way," Baker told the crowd, which booed when his name was announced. "Here at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we have the greatest respect for players and for player safety. As a result of some painting on the field today, some questions arose."
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR SPIKES: Linebacker Brandon Spikes is getting an opportunity to resume his NFL career after signing with the injury-depleted Bills.
Spikes, a former Gator, gets a second chance in Buffalo after playing for the Bills in 2014 and a second chance in the NFL after missing all of last season. He was sentenced to a year of probation in July 2015 after pleading guilty in a hit-and-run crash in which three people suffered minor injuries. The crash led to Spikes, 28, being released by New England.
Buffalo also signed veteran linebacker David Hawthorne and tight end Jimmay Mundine.
BEARS: Second-year center Hroniss Grasu suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear during practice Saturday.
OBITUARY: Art Demmas, a longtime NFL official who worked four Super Bowls, died Saturday in Nashville. He was 82.