WASHINGTON — This week’s preseason game between the Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been moved up to Wednesday because of an impending tropical weather event in Florida.
Originally scheduled for Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium, the Buccaneers and the NFL decided to move the game to Wednesday to avoid the heavy rainfall expected in the Tampa area thanks to a tropical depression currently lashing the western coast of Cuba.
Forecasts have Tropical Depression Nine strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 48 hours and making landfall on the west coast of Florida sometime Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service predicted Monday that the Tampa area could see 4-to-8 inches of rain with more in localized areas. Heavy flooding is expected. Much of that rain was expected to fall before and during Thursday’s preseason game.
Said Buccaneers chief operating officer Brian Ford in a statement:
“We have been in regular communication with administrators from the Tampa Sports Authority, Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa and the National Weather Service over the past day as it has become apparent that the most severe weather associated with Tropical Depression Nine will likely make landfall on Thursday.”
“This decision was made by both teams in conjunction with the National Football League and local authorities in an effort to ensure the safety of our fans, players and stadium staff.”
The Redskins said late Monday night that the 55th annual Welcome Home Luncheon, which will be held at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner on Wednesday morning, will go on as scheduled. But it was unclear if players or coaches would be able to attend. It is highly unusual for a team to fly to a game the same day it’s being played.
Of course, the fourth preseason game is generally played without most starters or even key backups. The Redskins will play third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld the entire game with Colt McCoy serving in reserve only in case of emergency. Starting quarterback Kirk Cousins will not play.
“We support the decision made by the Buccaneers and the NFL,” Redskins President Bruce Allen said in a statement. “We look forward to our game on Wednesday.”
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