ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- As Hurricane Irma churns toward Florida with effects from the category 5 storm expected to impact the state this weekend, several Buffalo Bills players with family or other interests in the region are keeping an eye on the forecast.
Here is what was said about Hurricane Irma in the Bills' locker room Thursday:
Guard John Miller (hometown Miami): "Some [family] did take precautions -- went to prepare, got a bunch of water and shelters and stuff for the house. But I actually do have a couple of my closest family members actually on a 15-passenger van packed up heading to Georgia, just trying to get out of dodge for a couple of days. My cousins, my aunties and my nephews, and my sisters. ... I talked to my dad a little bit. He is actually on his way up to Buffalo. He really wasn't bothered by it. Obviously being in Miami, we went through a lot of hurricanes, stuff like that. It's one of those things that is a natural disaster and one of those things that happens unfortunately, but we are still and faithful."
Safety Jordan Poyer (owns home in Deerfield Beach): "I just bought over this past offseason. That's my main concern right now. My fiancée's sister is going to school at [Florida Atlantic University]. We got her evacuated as soon as possible. My house is hurricane-proof, but 180 mph winds, that's really my main concern. ... I knew hurricane season is when we're in football season. I've got insurance on the home and everything. I told my pool boy to take everything off the patio and put it in the garage. Now it's just waiting and seeing what's going to happen. ... Still got some friends down there. I'm encouraging them to get out of there. We'll see what happens. I'm encouraging them to get out of there."
Fullback Patrick DiMarco (hometown Altamonte Springs): "My parents and my grandma are actually supposed to come up for [Sunday's] game [in Buffalo]. They just told me today that they're going to stay down there and make sure the house is all boarded up. My parents have a dog, so they want to stay there and make sure everything is OK at home. I wish they could come up and see my first game here, but completely understand. I'm just praying for everyone down there in Florida. I have family kind of all up the coast, so it's nasty, it's dangerous. I lived through several of them when I was down there in high school and growing up, so hope everyone stays safe and everyone is protected. ... They're projecting still to be a category 3 when it gets up to Orlando. I think it was Charley [in 2004] when I was in high school was a category 3 when it hit Miami and it was just a tropical storm in Orlando. We still had trees fall on our pool screen, so they're buckling down. It's not gonna be pretty."
Cornerback Greg Mabin (hometown Ft. Lauderdale): "My mom, my dad, my brother and one of my sisters are down there. ... They went to the store today and got some supplies, some 2x4s and pieces of wood to put over the windows and doors and stuff, so they're making the necessary preparations. ... We've experienced a lot of hurricanes growing up, probably not a hurricane as big as this, but we're taking the necessary precautions. They've got water, a generator, they're boarding up the house, so they're doing everything they can. ... A lot of my friends are evacuating. Further north, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Atlanta. Some are driving. It's either JetBlue or Spirit that's having a really good deal as far as flights go. ... I'm just going to continue to keep them and everybody else in my prayers -- stay in as much communication as as possible with them -- I like to know that they're safe and pretty much their every move. Once I get that, then I can have peace of mind."
Tight end Nick O'Leary (hometown Palm Beach): "[My parents] are going to the Ohio State game on Saturday, then coming up here for the game. Then I don't know what they're doing after the game yet. ... I don't know who all is [left] down there [among family], and I don't know if they're staying down there or not, but hopefully they're doing something to get ready for the hurricane."
Linebacker Matt Milano (hometown Orlando): "My parents live in Orlando, so they're just coming up for the game. My sister is still there, but she's at the house, boarded off or whatever. So hopefully they're ready to go. ... I'm personally not even watching [the storm]. I'm worried about the game coming up. It's my first NFL game, so I'm in my playbook. But I think it's the size of Florida, so I think everywhere is going to get hit pretty bad."