Bucs Are Back In Town

September 13th, 2017

Dodging and coping with Hurricane Irma.

In case you missed it, the Bucs had a walk-through last night and a practice today. That’s largely because the Bucs did a helluva job corralling players who were scattered across the nation for their unexpected bye week and many had plans to return Monday until Hurricane Irma called.

A bunch of players were stuck out of town as Tampa International Airport was closed Monday. Even when the airport opened yesterday, not all carriers were fully operational, which complicated matters.

Of course, Team Glazer graciously rounded up four planes Saturday to help evacuate players, staffers and their families if they chose to leave. Problem here was since the Bucs were on a bye week, even the players that took Team Glazer up on the offer could not be part of any team activity since it was the players’ mandatory week off, per the labor agreement.

So once the players landed in Charlotte, they were on their own and many bolted to friends’ houses or various local hotels.

Joe spoke with a handful of Bucs players to get their stories on how they dodged Hurricane Irma. Not all bailed the area.

* Demar Dotson: The right tackle decided to hop in a car and head home to Alexandria, La. Problem was, there were a lot of folks escaping the state as well. Took Dotson 18 hours to get out of town and some 25 hours to return. The word “harrowing” comes to mind. To make sure he didn’t run out of gas, Dotson carried extra gas containers.

* Chris Conte: The safety had no plans to leave town originally, and even considered staying after forecasters determined Irma was headed for the Tampa Bay area, and not the east coast of Florida, which had been predicted for days. But Conte and his girlfriend are expecting their first child (she’s eight months pregnant) and Conte began thinking more like a father than a warrior. He decided he needed to get his girlfriend out of town for her (and the baby’s) safety. Anywhere. “We ended up in Pittsburgh, somehow,” Conte joked. He was just looking for the first flight out of town and with pickings slim and time running out, Conte didn’t care where he flew too so long as he got out of Florida. So Conte and his girlfriend spent the weekend with the Yinzers in the Steel City.

* Antony Auclair: The rookie tight end had planned to go back to Quebec to visit his family during the bye. So when the bye got flipped thanks to Irma initially heading towards Miami, Auclair moved up his plans to visit family. He said he watched news reports much of Sunday like the rest of us. Though he was far from danger, Auclair admitted he was anxious watching the play-by-play of the storm as it inched closer to Tampa Bay, hoping the area got through best it could and his teammates would be OK.

* Bernard Reedy: The wide receiver stayed home in St. Petersburg and was rather busy. He hoped to stay with his mother and sister but he got a call from his former employer. You see, in the offseason, Reedy transports citizens in wheelchairs to doctors appointments and other needs. But the phone call from his old employer, Care Ride, was urgent. Folks needed help getting to safety. A lot of them. Care Ride was swamped with calls, and more importantly, time was short with Irma bearing down. So Reedy spent a good chunk of time helping needy people get to safety and away from Irma’s wrath. Reedy, who still lives with his mom and sister at home in St. Petersburg, lost power but his family is staying at his grandmother’s house. Reedy’s grandmother has a generator.

* Chris Baker: The Bucs defensive tackle took advantage of Team Glazer’s hospitality and flew to North Carolina. “Swaggy” made the trip with his wife and daughter as well. Like most, he nervously watched news reports Sunday. “I watched [reports] a lot. I thought it was going to be crazy but it went down to a Category-1 so that was a great feeling.”

* Vernon Hargreaves: The Bucs cornerback stayed in Tampa, too. And his home in Carrollwood was spared. Hargreaves said there was no damage to his house, not even the pool cage. And he lost nothing: never lost power, water or internet access.

* Donovan Smith: The left tackle went to Baltimore. Returned Tuesday night. Smith admitted “The Weather Channel” was a fixture on the family TV. “Pretty much it was on my TV the majority of the day.”

* Gerald McCoy: The Bucs stud defensive tackle, like thousands, jumped in his car and got out of Dodge. But GMC didn’t say where he went, but it sounded like an ordeal so many others found themselves trapped in. “It was a madhouse getting out of [Tampa],” GMC said. “It was like [the movie] ‘Independence Day’ or something, you know, stuff you see on movies. It took me three hours to get gas at one point … It took me about an hour to find it. Once I found it, I sat in line to go half a mile for two hours. Two hours to go half a mile – that’s how backed up it was.”

* Mike Smith: The Bucs defensive coordinator stayed back too, and he spent much of the weekend getting ready for the Bears at One Buc Palace. He said, compared to many who were adversely affected by Irma, his hit from Irma was that of a “peashooter.”

18 Responses to “Bucs Are Back In Town”

  1. BucSpain Says:

    Great reporting Joe. Really pulling for Speedy Reedy. Hopefully he contributes and finds stability in the team.
    @Joe: any news on Humphry’s hip injury?

  2. GoBucYourself Says:

    Asst. Wide Receivers/Game Management Coach Andrew Weidinger flew his family to Atlanta and then followed them by car. He had a return experience similar to Demar Dotson – long, harrowing drive with gas shortages all the way. Found his home in South Tampa completely unscathed, #Tampadodgedabullet.

  3. @SarasotaJay Says:

    Dotson in a car for a total of 43 hours is not a good thing on game week. Hope he is not stiff!

  4. RayJameisStadium Says:

    Great stuff Joe!!

    It feels like an extension of Hard Knocks.


    Go Bucs!!!

  5. DoNUTS Says:

    I am not sure why people keep saying Tampa “dodged a bullet”. Yes, it could have been worse. It was officially a CAT 2 not 1 storm. Feel free to check my facts. As of 2 PM today, there are about 600,000 homes without power since Sunday. I don’t like the dodge bullet analogy when people are suffering and dying in some circumstances due to the heat. I have two toddlers and feel very blessed that the power came back yesterday for us.

    Glad to see the players made it back safely. Seems like the Bucs needs to have a better or well laid out plan for hurricane events. In my mind, the plan should have required all players with immediate family goto NC all together. Its not like the Glazers dont have multiple jets and a team plane to facilitate the process. I have a feeling they have added this to their off season agenda.

  6. Buddy Says:

    The Bucs don’t have a team plane. They fly chartered commercial planes.

  7. SB Says:

    Man Did I suck in the Pickem this week. 50%??? I drank too much before making those picks maybe?

  8. DB55 Says:

    Glad to see the native wasn’t a little biatch. These dudes are so soft exception of Conte with wifey but we all know he the softest one of all. My boy (best man) drove from Mass into the hurricane. Now if we only had a few with balls like that!

    My 70 yr old in-laws had a tree fall into their bedroom. 1 ft from the bed, they just cleaned that ish up and went right back to bed. Lmao, our team is made of soft-serve ice cream but wtfdik!?!? Smh

  9. Joe Says:

    @Joe: any news on Humphry’s hip injury?

    Injury report says it all.

  10. Joe Says:

    I am not sure why people keep saying Tampa “dodged a bullet”.

    Just look around and use your facts. Think things are bad now? Imagine if that thing was a Cat-4 which was predicted.

    Parts of the Keys are uninhabitable. Places near Naples, they are talking about getting power restored in weeks, not days.

  11. SB Says:

    Tampa “TOTALLY” dodged a bullet on this one. I went to Lake Magdalene Elementary. My parents house wasn’t even injured. I bought a 20,000 dollar Camper to Mobilize to the Tampa area because I know what it would be like if they took a direct hit.

  12. cmurda Says:

    I salute Bernard Reedy. Thanks for stepping up and helping folks out. Mike Smith is a boss.

  13. teacherman777 Says:

    Benard Reedy is the man!!!

    I am rooting for you brother!!

  14. DoNUTS Says:


    When they finally starting searching the houses in Tampa and finding dead bodies…tell me again we dodged a bullet. Tell that to the family of the girl who died yesterday from carbon monoxide poisoning or the guy who died yesterday cutting a tree with a chainsaw…..tell their families…and tell me again.

  15. Buc1987 Says:

    DoNUTS….Tampa as a whole dodged a bullet. It could have been Harvey-like. People die all the time from cutting down trees and carbon monoxide poisoning.

    Tampa dodged a bullet. It got hit with a pellet gun.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Donuts is trying way too hard to be outraged.

    Of course there was dmange and some people suffered, but the storm was initially expected to be much, much worse than it was. Carbon monoxide poisoning and a chainsaw accident? That sh*t happens everyday man.

  17. unbelievable Says:

    Lol 87 didn’t see your post.

  18. DoNUTS Says:

    I don’t expect the uneducated to agree with me. I have been thru 7 hurricanes in my life including Andrew when I lived in Hollywood FL. I KNOW the destruction level up close and personal. I had friends who lost their homes in homestead, FL. My friend Brian lost his life when he was lifted from his home and thrown a half mile away. Huge Dolphin fan btw and his son was a ball boy for the Phins in the 80s during Marino. I love how all of you are assessing hurricane impact one week later…bunch of cowboys with no clue. FEMA wont be able to assess the true impact for about a year and you guys did it in a week. Amazing! My whole point was stop acting like you understand the impact when even the police-fire-federal agents will tell you it will be months before they will understand it fully.

    PS- Little girls dont die from generators being improperly placed everyday….another ass** statement from a person with no empathy button in their soul.