SBD/September 11, 2017/Franchises

Dolphins, Buccaneers Waiting To Survey Irma Damage Before Finalizing Any Travel Plans

The Dolphins have "made contingency plans to go from L.A. to West Virginia" for practice next week before returning home to play the Jets on Sept. 24 due to Hurricane Irma, according to Armando Salguero of the MIAMI HERALD. The option to practice at The Greenbrier could become a reality if power is "not restored to the team’s facility" by the time the Dolphins' charter takes off from L.A. this coming Sunday. Another issue that "might force the Dolphins to head to West Virginia is if post-Hurricane Irma inspection of the team’s facility shows significant damage" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/11). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted the Dolphins "know with certainty they’ll be playing the Chargers" this weekend in California. Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and management decided Friday to have the team fly to Oxnard, Calif., where they arranged to use the Cowboys’ training camp facility for the week before "heading south to Carson for the Sept. 18 game against the Chargers." The Rams also "offered to share their practice facility in Thousand Oaks." Those who were still home in Miami, as well as their families, were "flown to California to escape the storm and settle in for the upcoming week." Ross will "set up a flight for family members to go home as soon as it’s safe." The Dolphins originally would have "flown to California on Thursday, which is their standard routine for West Coast games." With the Buccaneers game off the schedule, they "decided the best option for a semi-normal workweek" was to get to the L.A. area as "early as possible" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 9/9).

MOVING PARTS: The NFL is still monitoring conditions in Tampa and Jacksonville for scheduled home openers in those cities this coming Sunday. NFL Exec VP/Communications Joe Lockhart noted Irma did not hit Tampa hard but did have significant flooding in Jacksonville. A decision is expected in the next few days (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). In Tampa, Rick Stroud wrote where Sunday's Bears-Buccaneers game will "ultimately be played is anyone's guess." The NFL will have to "act quickly once it is able to assess the damage from Irma." Meanwhile, as Irma "forced evacuations" throughout the Tampa Bay area on Saturday, the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, "scrambled to secure five small planes to fly 130 players, football and business staff members, and their immediate families to Charlotte" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/10). In Charlotte, Joseph Person notes depending on the damage Irma causes, the Bucs "might need to find a practice site in the Carolinas." The Panthers "could offer to share their facility or help get the Bucs set up at UNC Charlotte or Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C." (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/11). THE MMQB's Peter King notes the Bucs will see if it is "feasible to practice in Tampa for their home game next Sunday," or whether they will go to New Orleans or The Greenbrier in West Virginia to practice (SI.com, 9/11).
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