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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
Hard Rock Stadium sustained no structural damage during Hurricane Irma over the weekend and is ready to host the upcoming Miami Dolphins and University of Miami home games.
Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel announced Tuesday morning on Twitter that the stadium held up well during the storm. The team had engineers perform a thorough inspection of the venue, and they signed off on it to proceed with events as scheduled. Video released by the Dolphins during the storm showed fallen trees on the exterior of the venue.
Garfinkel confirmed landscaping damage and said the stadium lost a section of roof panels, but he downplayed those issues as "aesthetic in nature and easy to fix." The roof problem was likely caused by a tornado touching down on the property, the engineers reported.
The Hurricanes played their season opener at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 2 and will host Toledo there Sept. 23, and Garfinkel said specifically it will be fully operational for that game.
UM was scheduled to play at Arkansas State last Saturday, but that game was canceled. The ACC also rescheduled the Hurricanes' game at Florida State, planned for this weekend, to Oct. 7.
The Dolphins were supposed to open the season at home against Tampa Bay on Sunday, but that game was rescheduled to the mutual bye week. They will meet in Miami Gardens on Nov. 19.
The Dolphins are practicing in Oxnard, Calif., in advance of their game Sunday against the Chargers. They play at the Jets the following week and in London against the Saints on Oct. 1.
Miami's first home game will be Oct. 8 against Tennessee, the franchise's latest home opener since 1987. This week's game at Los Angeles marks the fifth time in the past six years the Dolphins have started on the road.
Garfinkel said the team's practice facility in Davie is in good condition and will be available when the Dolphins return from California on Monday. There was a fallback plan to practice in West Virginia next week if necessary.
During the storm's approach, Dolphins staff members took down awnings in Davie and deflated the indoor practice bubble.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers announced Tuesday they will host the Chicago Bears as scheduled Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs' game will be their season opener.
"Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days," Buccaneers CEO Brian Ford said.
[email protected] Twitter: @JasonLieser
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