Buccaneers, Dolphins displaced after Hurricane Irma damages Florida

Shutdown Corner

Just a couple of weeks since we saw the Houston Texans decamp to Frisco, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey decimated Houston, two other NFL teams have temporarily moved their bases of operation.

Hurricane Irma, which battered much of Florida this weekend, has forced the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to find new places to practice. Irma led to the NFL deciding to postpone what was to be the Week 1 game between the Dolphins and Buccaneers at Hard Rock Stadium near Miami.

The Dolphins play the Los Angeles Chargers in California this Sunday, and will spend the week in the area. The Miami Herald reported on Monday that the plan is for the Dolphins to use the Dallas Cowboys’ facility in Oxnard, California, which has been the Cowboys’ training camp location for several years.

National Guard vehicles were staged outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in advance of Hurricane Irma. (AP)
National Guard vehicles were staged outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa in advance of Hurricane Irma. (AP)

But very few players have made it out there at this point. Because the rescheduled Miami-Tampa Bay game meant Week 1 became the bye week for players, nearly the entire roster was given permission to travel, and they are scattered throughout the country.

There is a team meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, and all players must be in Oxnard by then.

And their travel may not end after this week. If, come Sunday night after Miami’s game with the Chargers, power has not been restored to the team’s practice facility and/or it’s determined that it’s been too damaged to use, the team will fly from Los Angeles to West Virginia to practice at The Greenbrier resort.

The Saints and Texans have used The Greenbrier for training camp in recent years. Plus, Miami is playing a “home” game in London on Oct. 1, and because of the length of that trip, teams typically spend nearly the entire week before the game in England.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross apparently asked the NFL if the London game could be moved back to Hard Rock Stadium, but was predictably told that wouldn’t be happening.

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The Buccaneers got to stay somewhat closer to home.

Owner Malcolm Glazer secured five small planes to transport players, football staff and other personnel – and their immediate families – to Charlotte as Irma forced evacuations in the Tampa area on Saturday.

Based on some social media posts from players, the Bucs are currently at a Hilton hotel in Charlotte, but the Tampa Bay Times reported midday Tuesday team officials are optimistic they’ll be able to play the Bears at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday as scheduled.

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