Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are attempting to focus on football while maintaining perspective as the relocated team watches from Miami as Hurricane Ian makes landfall in western Florida.
"Our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone still in Tampa," Bowles said at his media availability from Miami via Zoom video conference on Wednesday. "It's bigger than the football team, No. 1. What we do is really small entertainment for people that go through a lot of rough things and hopefully we can provide that."
Bowles and the Buccaneers brought family and pets to Miami to escape the eye of the hurricane targeting the Tampa region. He said that was the most important logistical detail the team will tackle this week.
In contact daily with the NFL, Bowles said the Buccaneers are still planning to play Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium but know the plan could change at any time before game day. Minneapolis and Miami both have been considered as options for the primetime game with the Kansas City Chiefs. Bowles said coaches have repeated this week that focus will be critical no matter the travel itinerary.
"Nobody is going to feel sorry for us," Bowles said.
Bowles said he's personally never experienced a hurricane or been displaced during the season. The team temporarily moved across the state to Miami, which is not expected to be directly or deeply impacted by the storm moving northeast.
"Talking to people about a hurricane is difficult, because nobody has ever really been through it," he said.
The Tampa region has not taken a direct hit from a hurricane since 1921. Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall south of Tampa, but forecasters said the city could see storm surges of up to 6 feet.
The Bucs were expecting wide receivers Julio Jones and Chris Godwin to practice in some capacity Wednesday, Bowles said, but left tackle Donovan Smith is not going to take the field and could miss his third consecutive game.
--Field Level Media