TAMPA, Fla. — With Hurricane Ian set to move over Florida’s west coast Wednesday into Thursday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be temporarily relocating to South Florida, the team announced Monday evening.
The Bucs will depart Tampa on Tuesday and will spend the week practicing at the Miami Dolphins‘ Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens through the end of the week, if necessary. The Bucs had previously hosted the Dolphins for two days of joint practices prior to their Week 1 preseason game.
A hurricane warning was issued for the Tampa Bay area Monday night. Forecasters say the region will start to see effects of the storm as early as Tuesday afternoon, with the worst effects coming Thursday. Ian is currently a Category 2 storm but is expected to strengthen as it hovers off the coast.
“I don’t think that anyone’s really prepared for this. I know I’ve been preparing all morning and get all my stuff outside, try to put it inside, try to get all the stuff on the ground level up a little bit higher,” Bucs quarterback Tom Brady said Monday on his “Let’s Go!” podcast. “I’m right here on the bay so they’re talking about pretty high storm surges and it’s a scary thing. I will say that it’s a scary thing when it really hits your doorstep.”
The NFL continues to monitor the situation, but as of Monday evening, the plan is still for the Bucs to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium. In the event the Bucs are unable to host the game, the NFL is unlikely to use Miami as the new game site, league sources told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, even though the Dolphins — who play at Cincinnati on Thursday night — won’t be using their stadium on Sunday.
According to sources, the NFL does not want to risk taking up state resources to host a game in Miami that could be better utilized in Tampa in the aftermath of the hurricane.
If Sunday’s game has to be moved, it is likely the Bucs and Chiefs would play at a neutral site in the Midwest, such as Minneapolis (the Vikings play the New Orleans Saints in London in Week 4). Those plans remain fluid given the unknown path of the storm.