The Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice in Miami and discuss the impact of Hurricane Ian; Minneapolis selected as contingency site for Sunday’s game

The team moved its football operations to Miami this week because of Ian’s potential impact. It made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida near Cayo Costa on Tuesday as a powerful Category 4 storm, but has now weakened to a Category 1 storm. It is one of the strongest hurricanes to make landfall on the west coast of mainland Florida.

After practicing for the first time at the Miami Dolphins facility in Miami Gardens — the Dolphins traveled to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday — Bucs players and coaches talked about the storm’s impact on them and their families. .

“First of all, our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone in Tampa that is still out there, hoping that they will recover well and not get hit too hard,” head coach Todd Bowles told the media. “That’s the biggest thing. What we do is a little bit of entertainment for people who are going through a lot of bad things, and we hope to provide that.

“It’s bigger than a football team, number one. Number two, it’s just making sure the families of the players are safe and the families of the coaches are safe and all the staff is safe so we can focus on football. So we’ve brought a lot of them down here. Come everyone they wanted could come, family or otherwise, including pets. First of all we’ll make sure those people are okay, because you can’t concentrate on football without taking care of your family.”

On Thursday morning, hurricane and tropical storm warnings were lifted across southern Florida as Hurricane Ian moved further north, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center. The storm remains a Category 1 with sustained winds of 75 mph.
Bucs running back Leonard Fournette, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, recalled the impact and destruction of Hurricane Katrina when it hit the Gulf Coast in 2005 and claimed 1,833 lives.

“I’ve been through Katrina since I was a kid,” Fournette said. “I know how serious and serious it is. . . . I think the Bucs did a great job evacuating everyone, making sure everyone and the families were okay. And I hope you’re okay too, it looks like some of you are at home. But I know how it is… and I thank God that we’re out there and praying for the families there in Tampa.”

For star linebacker Devin White, he has more than just his house to look after. The 24-year-old also has a stable full of horses to worry about.

“I think you have to pray, but I think my barn is more expensive than my house,” White said when asked if he planned to keep his horses safe. “So I think my barn… for these types of things, I hope nothing gets too close… I’ve been watching the cameras and I work in the barn that’s left behind, so hopefully they’re all safe and we can get through this.” .

The Bucs practice in Miami Gardens.

Contingency plan

The Bucs host Sunday’s Week 4 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, but Ian’s lasting impact has led the NFL to select US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as the site where the game should be held. move

The stadium, home to the Minnesota Vikings, will not be in use on Sunday as the Vikings travel to London to face the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“It’s standard procedure, as you know, for us to have contingency plans and identify other NFL arenas that could host a game in a week if necessary. And in this case, if the hurricane necessitates a relocation.” NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller said Wednesday. “This is only as a contingency, but we will continue to be nimble and adaptable.”

Overview of US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

White said if it was safe, the Bucs would like to face the Chiefs at home, especially because of the “energy” the Bucs players “feed off.”

“I would like it to be a home game … because it’s one of our night games,” he said. “I don’t know how many we have, but I love being in front of our fans, especially going against a good team like this.

“You really need, the fans on your sideline … to help you get that momentum and fuel that energy in the game. But I mean no matter what, I think it’s safety first … The game of football doesn’t matter when you’re talking about people’s lives … that people in the community are harmed by something like this.”