Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Buccaneers hoping to return home after relocating to escape Hurricane Ian | CBC Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who moved their football campaign to South Florida to escape Hurricane Ian, are hopeful of being able to return home to play Kansas City on Sunday night.

The team practiced at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility on Wednesday, describing the experience as different, but insisting the disruption in their routines won’t hinder their ability to prepare for the team they defeated in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Family members, and even some pets, accompanied players and coaches in relocating before the storm hit Florida’s west coast.

“The biggest challenge, I think we’ve already taken for granted, is just to keep their families safe. Everyone’s loved ones are safe, and that’s No. 1. Houses, and monetary things, you don’t really worry If the family’s safe, you can focus on football,” coach Todd Bowles said.

“What we do is really small entertainment for people who go through a lot of things, and hopefully we can provide that,” Bowles said via Zoom call from the Dolphins’ campus in Miami Gardens. ” “But it’s bigger than just a football team.”

NFL executive Jeff Miller said Wednesday that the game was scheduled to be played in Tampa on Sunday night.

If teams cannot play at Raymond James Stadium – a decision that could be made by the end of Friday – the much-anticipated matchup between quarterback Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes will be moved to Minneapolis.

This isn’t the first time the Books have taken players and families out by storm.

Hurricane Irma forced the postponement of a Week 1 matchup against the Dolphins in 2017, when the Bucs flew some players and their families to Charlotte, North Carolina to wait out the storm.

Others opted to drive to destinations in North Florida, Alabama and Georgia, while the NFL rescheduled the game for a goodbye date shared by the Bucks and Dolphins.

“Everyone who wanted to come, family wise and otherwise could come, including pets,” Bowles said, adding the club initially explored the possibility of practice in West Virginia.

“But I think people would still have been away from their families. Even if the families could have come there, it would have been a little more distant as far as the hotels are located,” Bowles said. “Miami came up, and it looked like it wasn’t going to be hit as hard. … It was an easy trip, and the people who had pets and everything else, and the old grandparents drive with them. Could. Stay close to their families.”

One player – linebacker Devin White – could not take his animals with him to South Florida. He has a stable or horses and is an avid rider.

“I think my barn is more expensive than my house,” White said. “I’m looking at the cameras, and I have someone working in the barn who got left behind. So hopefully, everyone there is safe and we can get through.”

Bowles said the thoughts of the players and coaches were also with the community he left behind.

“Our thoughts right now are with the city of Tampa. Where we have to play – hopefully it’s Tampa and all is well. It means we haven’t suffered too much,” Bowles said. “If we have to play somewhere else, we just have to concentrate and lock in. No one will feel sorry for us. We have to be ready to play.”

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