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With Jeanne on their minds, Bucs try to focus

The Bucs had more to worry about than beating the Raiders on Sunday.

Players, coaches and administrators woke at the Argent Hotel in San Francisco to news reports of Hurricane Jeanne bearing down on Tampa.

With family and friends a continent away, they channel surfed for news of the storm and made frequent phone calls home before boarding buses to Network Associates Coliseum at 4:30.

"We're very concerned about all the people back home, and we just hope everyone is safe," linebacker Derrick Brooks said. "But we're out here, and there's really nothing we can do."

Just two days earlier, Brooks flew on a private jet with his wife, Carol, two young sons and brother to attend the funeral of his great-great-grandmother, Della Mae Folks, who died just before Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola. He also delivered water, ice and prayers to victims in his hometown.

He returned Friday afternoon to board the Bucs' charter to Oakland.

Jeanne, the fourth hurricane in six weeks to strike Florida, wasn't the first to find the Bucs away from Tampa.

The team remained in Celebration when Charley made landfall near Punta Gorda then hunkered down as the eye passed close to its training facility at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The preseason opener against the Bengals was postponed for two days. Three days after their final preseason game in Houston, the Bucs were at home during Frances and were in Washington when Ivan took aim at Pensacola.

"We all kept pretty close watch of it," linebackers coach Joe Barry said. "I called home every two hours. But my mother- and father-in-law live close by, so they took in (my wife) Chris and the kids. Everybody is fine."

Barry was asked if Bucs players would be affected by concerns about the storm.

"No way," he said. "We're here, and we've got a job to do."

Although all major carriers suspended flights to Tampa International Airport, the Bucs did not change travel plans and were scheduled to leave Oakland immediately after the game.

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