By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Dolphins’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been postponed until Nov. 19 because of Hurricane Irma.
The switch Wednesday to Week 11 by the NFL was possible because that had been a bye week for both teams. League officials earlier announced the game would not be played in Miami this week, and then decided against moving it to a neutral site.
Irma is forecast to threaten South Florida this weekend.
Both teams resisted switching to Nov. 19 because it means playing the entire season without a break.
“Our guys kind of need that bye week to get healthy and kind of push through the second half of the season,” Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler said Tuesday. “It’s not an ideal situation not to have a bye.”
The Dolphins will now open Sept. 17 at the Los Angeles Chargers, and their first home game won’t be until Oct. 8 against the Tennessee Titans. Their game at London on Oct. 1 against New Orleans is designated a home game for Miami.
Tampa Bay will open Sept. 17 at home against the Chicago Bears.
The Buccaneers planned to practice Wednesday, but the Dolphins canceled practice and gave players the rest of the week off to prepare for the hurricane.
“A lot these guys have a lot on their plate — moving their families, and you’ve got people coming in, and your house and your cars,” said Cutler, who joined the team a month ago.
“I’m one of the few lucky ones. I’ve got a car here and a bag full of clothes, and that’s kind of it. But you’ve got a lot of guys in that locker room that are going through a lot of things in their head, and we’ve got to be mindful of that and help them any way possible.”
The menace of Irma and the postponement of the opener are the latest setbacks for the Dolphins, who endured an injury-filled training camp that included the loss of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who required season-ending knee surgery.
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