Hurricane Irma

NFL makes it official: Bears-Bucs will play in Tampa on Sunday

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USA TODAY

NFL makes it official: Bears-Bucs will play in Tampa on Sunday

The NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Tuesday morning that the team will host the Bears at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

The league had been assessing the impact Hurricane Irma had on both the stadium and surrounding area before making a final decision on where the game would be played.

The game will kick off at its regularly scheduled time of noon CT.

“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 Chief Operating Officer 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.”

It'll mark both the home opener and season opener for the Buccaneers, who were forced to cancel their Week 1 game against the Miami Dolphins because of the hurricane. Those two teams will make up their game in Week 11, originally both teams' bye week.

The Bears will travel to Tampa Bay for the third straight season. The Buccaneers thumped Chicago last season, 36-10, in Week 10. The Bears were victorious in 2015, earning a 26-21 victory in Week 16.

With family members in its path, many White Sox players keep close eye on Hurricane Irma

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USA TODAY

With family members in its path, many White Sox players keep close eye on Hurricane Irma

Many eyes in the White Sox clubhouse will be focused on Hurricane Irma the next few days as several players’ family members are in the direct path of the record-breaking storm.

While his wife and children are in Chicago, the rest of catcher Geovany Soto’s family was already feeling the impact of the Category 5 storm by Wednesday afternoon in Puerto Rico. Manager Rick Renteria said some of his in-laws also reside in Puerto Rico. Reliever Juan Minaya’s family also is in the projected path of the storm, which is expected to reach the Dominican Republic sometime Thursday. Renteria said the White Sox will monitor the situation for now and act if necessary.

“We're all cognizant of the realities of life and the things that are really important,” Renteria said. “There are going to be a lot of people keeping track.

“I'm sure that anybody who has family anywhere that's being stricken by something that could be devastating, you'd want to be with them. There are certain logistics that probably won't allow that. I'm sure they're in motion, that their minds and their hearts are with their families. They wouldn't be human if they weren't feeling those things. I think we all deal with it in our own way and if there's a situation that occurs here we'll deal with it when we have to.”

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Soto spoke to his family several times throughout the day, most recently at 2 p.m. (CST). Soto said his parents, uncles, sisters, nieces and nephews hadn’t had power since 9 a.m. and had begun to see wind damage as early as 11 a.m. even though the storm hadn’t made landfall.

Soto was 6 when Hurricane Hugo slammed Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean in 1989. He knows Puerto Rico has been mostly lucky over the years and just hopes for the best possible outcome.

“It’s something that you really can’t control,” Soto said. “We want to believe that it’s out of our reach and just pray for safety and minimum damage.

“Keep praying for my family back at home.”

The White Sox have a number of players who reside in the Dominican Republic, but Minaya’s northern town of Puerta Plata is most directly in the hurricane’s path. The reliever said he lives about a 20-minute walk from the ocean and even closer to a river. His parents, brother, two sisters and nephews have decided to ride out the storm because they’re worried about looters.

Minaya said his family plans to stay together in a concrete house and expects to lose power at any point.

“The communication is going to be bad,” Minaya said. “If the hurricane goes like we’re seeing now, terrible.

“I’m very worried because my family is there.”