Game postponed, Bucs worry about bigger issues

by Gary Shelton on September 7, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Koetter has to look to the second week of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Koetter has to look to the second week of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Thursday, 2 a.m.

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Bucs aren't concerned with Jay and Ndamukong.

Suddenly, they are concerned with Irma.

The Bucs, whose game Sunday has been postponed because of the approaching Hurricane Irma, now face playing in 16 straight weeks. Their opener now will be Sept. 17 at home against Chicago.

“I’m just concerned about people’s families,” said quarterback Jameis Winston. “This is bigger than football. I just want everybody to be safe, especially my teammates that (are) on the road, catching flights and I want everybody to just

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Winston isn't worried about playing 16 straight./CARMEN MANDATO

Winston isn't worried about playing 16 straight./CARMEN MANDATO

be safe. I really don’t want to fly because I’ve got Tootsie (his dog). I don’t want to leave Tootsie back. Hopefully everybody is safe — that’s the most important thing right now. Football is not important right now — it’s about safety.”

The gravity of the approaching storm is not lost on the Bucs.

'I've never been through a hurricane, and the projections they make, I'm a little nervous about the hurricane,” said coach Dirk Koetter. “Never been through one. The football part, I'm not nervous about the football part. I'm nervous about what's going to happen. All you've got to do is turn on the TV and look at Houston, and we should be nervous.

“The number-one thing any of us should be thinking about is safety of everyone involved, not just our people but everybody's families and the communities. This is a natural disaster. Football takes a backseat to all of that."

 Koetter said he didn't want a neutral site game, one of the other options that had been discussed.

"I just don't think that's feasible, whether I would have liked that or not,” Koetter said. “I don't think you could have asked all the people that have to travel on both teams to say, 'Hey, leave your families in a hurricane and let's go play a game in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.' I just don't think that's feasible, because of all the stuff I've already said."

McCoy would have preferred to play./CARMEN MANDATO

McCoy would have preferred to play./CARMEN MANDATO

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, however, said he would have voted to play.

“I wanted to play,” McCoy said. “But, the NFL controls it. The one thing they can’t control is the weather. Obviously, nobody wanted this to happen. Everybody has been going against the same people since the spring (and) training camp doing all of that stuff to get prepared for Week One.

“Everybody has that itch and then they tell you, ‘You’ve got to wait another week.’ Obviously, nobody wanted it, but it is what it is. We’ve got to be professional. We’re in this situation and I don’t think people are going to really care. I don’t think the Bears are going to care when they come here next week. They aren’t going to care that we had to not play. They are coming in to win, so we need to take the time off to prepare and come back ready to win.”

Winston wasn't concerned with playing 16 straight weeks.

“No, it’s football,” Winston said. “We get paid to do that … The players are going to have to decide that. I have no idea. This is the first time it has happened to me. Football is a game that everyone always questions safety, but 16 games — the players are going to have to decide. I guess we will decide that when it gets here.”

Koetter wasn't thinking about how the postponement will affect suspended running back Doug Martin.

"Doug's situation right now — these last two days have been crazy — that's way back in my mind,” Koetter said. “We've been just trying to get clarity: What are we doing right now, how are we all making sure our families are safe and what's the plan moving forward?


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