Buck Allen’s hometown of Miccosukee is situated in the panhandle of Florida, which was also expected to bear the brunt of Hurricane Michael as it made landfall Wednesday afternoon. The Ravens running back has been monitoring the situation and maintaining contact with family and friends who have been hunkering down.
“Yesterday, I talked to some of my family, and they said it was still sunny,” he said Wednesday morning. “I’ll probably talk to them today and see where everything is. I talked to a couple people to make sure they go by my family and see if everything’s OK. They did that for me. But other than that, I’m not really concerned. I’ve prayed for them every day, and with every hurricane that comes through, you never know what to expect from a hurricane. So I just pray that the state of Florida will stay strong.”
The Category 4 storm with winds of 155 miles per hour winds touched down near Mexico Beach in Florida. The force of the winds made it the strongest hurricane to hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew barreled into South Florida in 1992.
Meanwhile, more than 900 miles away, Allen had to shift his focus from his family to his job helping prepare for Sunday’s road game against the Tennessee Titans.
“I do what I can,” he said. “The best thing I could do is fly them all up here, and they’d all be at my house. But my grandma, she really wouldn’t want to leave unless it’s really dangerous and I force her to do it.”
Forecasts projected that Hurricane Michael would continue on a northeast path through Georgia before spinning back into the Atlantic Ocean. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal followed the example set by his Florida counterpart Rick Scott in declaring a state of emergency for 93 middle and south counties in his state.
One of those counties is Cobb County, which includes the towns of Kennesaw and Marietta — the hometowns of tight end Darren Waller and cornerback Jaylen Hill. Waller, a member of the practice squad, said he spoke to his parents Tuesday, and they did not seem concerned about the hurricane.
“I don’t think North Georgia will get too much damage aside from probably some strong wind and rain, but probably won’t catch the brunt of it,” he said. “If it’s a state of emergency, hopefully, people take it serious. I wouldn’t downplay it.”
Hill, who is in the physically unable to perform list recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, was surprised to learn about the state of emergency for Cobb County. “I did see something about the hurricane, but I didn’t know that it was that close to my hometown,” he said. “I’m definitely going to check in though.”
More hurricanes and tropical storms hit Florida than any other U.S. state, but Allen expressed confidence that the residents there would be well-prepared for Hurricane Michael.
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“I’m pretty sure that a lot of residents of Florida are prepared from the stuff they learned from the first hurricane,” he said. “Maybe they’ve got a hurricane plan. But they’re not taking it lightly. Anytime there’s a hurricane, I’m pretty sure they have a great plan to stay together and be safe with their families.”