Sunday night’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will continue to be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa as originally scheduled, the NFL announced Thursday.
The NFL had selected U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as a contingency site for the game after the Bucs had evacuated the area because of Hurricane Ian.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the many thousands in the Southwest Florida region who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Ian,” the Bucs said in a statement Thursday. “We are also very thankful that the Tampa Bay area was spared the most damaging consequences of this powerful storm.
“We have informed the NFL, after consulting with local and state agencies, that we are ready to play Sunday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium as originally scheduled.”
The Bucs also expressed gratitude to first responders and emergency personnel “who are already battling the elements, saving lives, and helping our neighbors in those most impacted areas to our south.”
Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady hopes the game can help bring people together for “a common good.”
“I always feel like sports has brought people together over a long period of time,” Brady said. And watching different adversities — whether that was 9/11, whether that was [Hurricane] Katrina — sports has an amazing way of kind healing wounds and bringing people together and bringing communities together in something to cheer for and a common interest and a common good. So I think anytime you can participate in things like that, it’s a great feeling.
“… After what so many people have gone through in the state, it’s great to go out there and give them something to cheer about.”
Tampa mayor Jane Castor took to Twitter on Thursday to quip that she has “assured the @NFL that the only disturbance here Sunday is when the Bucs kick ass.”
On another note: we’re doing our best to keep the @Buccaneers game here Sunday. I have assured the @NFL that the only disturbance here Sunday is when the Bucs kick ass. ? pic.twitter.com/Mwp4EXPUlK
— Jane Castor (@JaneCastor) September 29, 2022
The Buccaneers relocated their players, coaches and some of their families to the South Florida area and have been practicing at the Miami Dolphins’ facility.
Wide receiver Mike Evans said he hoped the Bucs could be a “bright spot” after everything the region has gone through this week.
“I definitely wanted to be at the home,” Evans said Thursday. “I’m happy I get to go out there and entertain and it’s a blessing and I don’t take it for granted. I know we’re going through a tough time right now, so hopefully we can be a bright spot during this time.”
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.
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