Steady as a Rock

En­gi­neers de­ter­mine Dol­phins’ home is struc­turally sound

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Omar Kelly Staff writer

A team of en­gi­neers have in­spected Hard Rock Sta­dium and have de­ter­mined that venue that hosts Mi­ami Dol­phins and Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes foot­ball games is struc­turally sound in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Irma.

Tom Garfinkel, the Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Dol­phins and Hard Rock Sta­dium, an­nounced on Twit­ter Tues­day morn­ing that the sta­dium, which re­sides in Mi­ami Gar­dens on the Mi­ami-Dade and Broward County bor­der, will be able to host the Hur­ri­canes home game against Toledo on Sept. 23.

“Af­ter thor­ough in­spec­tion by en­gi­neers, it has been deemed that @HardRock­S­ta­dium ex­pe­ri­enced no struc­tural dam­age from Irma,” Garfinkel’s tweet said. “We lost land­scap­ing and a sec­tion of roof pan­els in 1 cor­ner. En­gi­neers be­lieve a tor­nado touched down. Aes­thetic in na­ture and easy to fix.”

Garfinkel later tweeted that the Dol­phins’ prac­tice fa­cil­ity in Davie “also gets the all-clear and will be avail­able to team for prac­tice af­ter LA.”

The team had a con­tin­gency

plan to prac­tice next week in West Vir­ginia if the prac­tice fa­cil­ity sus­tained any sig­nif­i­cant dam­age from Hur­ri­cane Irma.

The Dol­phins play the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers on the road for their sea­son opener af­ter hav­ing last week’s game against Tampa Bay pushed back to Nov. 19 be­cause of Irma.

Dol­phins owner Steve Ross flew many play­ers, staff, coaches and their fam­i­lies to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day night to es­cape Hur­ri­cane Irma. Ross flew an­other group to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Satur­day. He’ll fly the fam­i­lies back, at his ex­pense, when it’s deemed safe.

Other play­ers, how­ever, with team per­mis­sion, de­parted for des­ti­na­tions of their choice.

Mean­while, coaches and staff in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia are pre­par­ing to have a nor­mal week head­ing into the Charg­ers game.

The Dol­phins will be­gin prac­tic­ing in Ox­nard, at the Dal­las Cow­boys’ train­ing camp fa­cil­ity on Wed­nes­day.

Play­ers were still ar­riv­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia on Mon­day, and the Dol­phins are hope­ful ev­ery player will get there in time, but there’s no guar­an­tee each can com­plete his jour­ney due to Hur­ri­cane Irma-re­lated travel dis­rup­tions. Play­ers who fled Hur­ri­cane Irma and/or used the post­poned game as a bye week are trav­el­ing from many parts of the coun­try to reach South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, but when they ar­rive de­pends largely on whether they were able to get a ticket, which air­port they’re de­part­ing from, and which air­port they land.

The Dol­phins don’t play a home game at Hard Rock Sta­dium un­til Oct. 8 against the Ten­nessee Ti­tans.

The Dol­phins in­quired with the NFL about mov­ing their Oct. 1 game in Lon­don against New Or­leans to Hard Rock Sta­dium, but the league said the game must stay in Lon­don ac­cord­ing to a source.

The Dol­phins, who are host­ing Su­per Bowl LIV in 2020, agreed to play in Lon­don this year as part of an NFL res­o­lu­tion that states teams must play an in­ter­na­tional game within five years of be­ing awarded a Su­per Bowl.

Ross had more than $500 mil­lion of ren­o­va­tion work com­pleted dur­ing the off­sea­son and the sta­dium was said to have been built to with­stand a cat­e­gory 4 hur­ri­cane. Irma wasn’t that strong as it swept across South Florida on Sun­day but the sta­dium still must be in­spected.

If the train­ing fa­cil­ity is dam­aged, the Dol­phins would prac­tice in West Vir­ginia in prepa­ra­tion for their Sept. 24 game at the New York Jets.

If the Dol­phins were forced to prac­tice away from home prior to the Jets game they would of had an early-sea­son odyssey that in­cluded prac­tic­ing in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, then play­ing the Charg­ers in Los An­ge­les, then trav­el­ing to West Vir­ginia for a week, then go­ing to New York to play the Jets, then prac­tic­ing back home in South Florida be­fore trav­el­ing to Lon­don to face the Saints.

“We lost land­scap­ing and a sec­tion of roof pan­els in 1 cor­ner. En­gi­neers be­lieve a tor­nado touched down. Aes­thetic in na­ture and easy to fix.” Tom Garfinkel, Dol­phins pres­i­dent and CEO, an­nounc­ing on Twit­ter the re­sults of the en­gi­neers’ in­spec­tion

MIKE EHRMANN/GETTY IMAGES

En­gi­neers have de­ter­mined that Hard Rock Sta­dium, above, got through Hur­ri­cane Irma with­out dam­age. The Dol­phins’ prac­tice fa­cil­ity in Davie was also given the all-clear.

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