The Bucs, in consultation with the NFL and the Tampa Sports Authority, had been waiting to assess damage from Hurricane Irma, which made its way through the Tampa Bay area Sunday and early parts of Monday morning. Raymond James Stadium, where the Buccaneers play their home games, was used as a staging area for local law enforcement and the military during the storm.
“Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days,” Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said in a statement. “We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”
Bucs players are starting to trickle back into town now that Tampa International Airport has reopened on a limited basis. Some players and coaches evacuated with the team to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday; others left earlier in the week with their families for other states or rode out the storm.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy posted a video on Instagram of him driving to work Tuesday:
The Bucs’ plan right now is to start practicing again Wednesday. Their Week 1 game in Miami was rescheduled for Nov. 19 because of Irma.