By Chris Emma–
(CBS) A week after Hurricane Irma passed through Florida, the Buccaneers will host the Bears as scheduled Sunday at their home of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The Buccaneers made that announcement official Tuesday morning after an assessment of the local damage in consultation with the NFL and Tampa Sports Authority.
“We have been working tirelessly with the Tampa Sports Authority, as well as the NFL league office, to ensure that Raymond James Stadium would be available to host our season opener against the Chicago Bears this Sunday,” Buccaneers COO Brian Ford said in a statement. “Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days. We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”
The Buccaneers will be playing their season opener after having last their scheduled game in Miami last Sunday postponed due to Hurricane Irma. Other venues were considered by the NFL after Raymond James Stadium and its surrounding area in Tampa proved to be unsafe.
Hurricane Irma was on the minds of many Bears players whose homes or families are based out of Florida. This past weekend, linebacker Pernell McPhee was among those focused on family in Florida, with his grandmother in South Florida as the storm hit.
“As as the first responders go out all through the state of Florida, our thoughts and prayers are with everybody there in the recovery effort,” said Bears coach John Fox, who has a home in Marco Island, Florida.
The Bears are playing for a third straight season in Tampa, with the Buccaneers earning a 36-10 rout last November at Raymond James Stadium.