Saturday’s preseason contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals has been rescheduled for Monday, Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
The game will still be played at Raymond James Stadium and tickets for Saturday night’s game can still be used to get into Monday night’s contest.
Saturday’s game was postponed on Friday because of the threat of Hurricane Charley posed to the Tampa Bay area, but the storm went east of the Bay area and actually hit Orlando on Friday evening, which is where both the Bengals and Bucs waited out the potent storm.
“We were educated in terms of where the thing was projected to strike,” said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. “So a lot of the players families came to Orlando to try to get away from it, and little did any of us know that here it comes right towards us. It was not good.
“You see trees being picked up and thrown out of the ground. People are holding the door shut so it doesn’t fly open. It was wild, it was unbelievable. The force that was displayed last night was something I had never seen and it’s amazing that the damages were not maybe here what they might have been. I see trees down, I’m just happy a lot of these houses didn’t get uprooted and people didn’t get hurt.”
Instead of playing their first preseason game on Saturday night as originally planned, the Bucs held one two-hour morning practice and a afternoon walk thru instead. As it turns out, those workouts were the last of Tampa Bay’s training camp in Orlando. Camp breaks on Sunday morning.
“It affects us a lot,” said Gruden. “We had to do what we had to do. It was scary. A very dangerous situation here last night. We had to adjust the schedule the best way we could. But we’re going to play the game on Monday at 7:30 p.m. It’s been a radical change in schedule for both us and Cincinnati.”
The Bucs will play the Bengals on Monday night. The players will have Tuesday off and the team will be practicing back in Tampa on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the Bucs’ final training camp practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
Although the Bucs-Bengals game will still be played, the rescheduling of the contest presents an interesting challenge for the Bucs, who are scheduled to play against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Friday night. The Bucs will leave for Jacksonville on Thursday.
While having just three full days in-between games might seem like an inconvenience to some, Bucs general manager Bruce Allen put things in perspective.
“It’s the least inconvenient thing of the storm,” said Allen.
Guard Matt Stinchcomb (calf), tackle Derrick Deese (bone spur), G Kerry Jenkins (ankle), and linebackers Derrick Brooks (knee) and Jeff Gooch (shin splint) will not play on Monday night. Some other players, including running back Charlie Garner, wide receiver Tim Brown and LB Shelton Quarles will be game-time decisions.
LENDING A HELPING HAND:
Florida’s three professional football teams — Tampa Bay, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins — have jointly established collection programs to aid the relief efforts being undertaken throughout the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.
The Bucs have organized a program to collect monetary donations prior to Monday night’s game against the Bengals at Raymond James Stadium. Collection points at Ray-Jay will be set up at each of the four entry gates and two club entrances. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m.
The funds collected at Saturday night’s game between the Dolphins and Jaguars, the Bucs-Bengals game at Ray-Jay on Monday night and the Bucs-Jaguars contest at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville on Friday, Aug. 20, will be directed to appropriate Hurricane Charley relief efforts.
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