That difference is not coincidental as several players with ties to Florida have been waiting to see how the storm will impact the state as early as Sunday morning. Wide receiver Chris Moore said his mother Jennifer and younger brother Aarian arrived in Baltimore on Thursday after leaving their home in Tampa and catching an outbound flight from Atlanta.
“Just being able to know where they’re at and just knowing that they’re safe, it’s everything,” Chris Moore said Friday. You’re able to just work and not have to worry. It’s nice.”
Breshad Perriman’s family is in Miami, and the wide receiver said that some members have evacuated, while some are staying. He said some friends drove from Miami to Atlanta in 15 hours, which is six hours longer than the usual trip.
“I’m pretty worried,” he said. “It’s a big deal. I was talking to my friend last night about how there’s no more water left in stores. So everyone is just preparing for the worst. It’s very scary.”
As of Friday morning, the hurricane’s maximum wind speeds had dropped from 180 to 155 miles per hour, which is still stronger than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Authorities in Florida have ordered evacuations in coastal regions, areas where flooding is prevalent, and mobile homes in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.
Earlier in the week, the NFL moved Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Miami Dolphins to Nov. 19. Colleges like Miami, Florida, and Florida State canceled games this weekend.
Coach John Harbaugh said he has been in touch with his sister Joani, his brother-in-law Tom Crean, and their family, who live on the western coast of the state.
“They’re kind of battening down right now,” he said. “So I’m going to see if they’re going to move out or not. But I know our players are dealing with that stuff just like our players from Texas and Louisiana. Life keeps moving. We’re just praying.”
Linebacker Albert McClellan said his family is not leaving Lakeland, Florida, which is about 240 miles northwest of Miami. He pointed out that the state’s residents have endured Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Charley in 2004 in the past.
“We’ve been through hurricanes before,” he said. “Even though they say this one is a record breaker, I’m pretty sure they still understand what they’ve got to do to be ready for it. Other than that, it’s in the Lord’s hands.”