Greg Mabin can remember the damage inflicted on his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when Hurricane Wilma blew through in 2005.
"We lost the majority of the roof, part of the fence, and we were without power for maybe like a week and a half, two weeks," the Buffalo Bills' cornerback said Thursday. "I was young at the time ... so I didn't really know what was going on. I was just outside playing with my friends, because that's what we did. My parents were the ones who had to get everything back together."
As Mabin prepares for Sunday's season opener against the New York Jets, he's keeping a close eye on the projected path of Hurricane Irma, a devastating storm that has caused widespread damage in the Caribbean with its 180-plus mph winds and could arrive in South Florida over the weekend. Mabin's parents, as well as his brother and one of his sisters plan to ride out the storm.
"They went to the store today and got some supplies, some two-by-fours and pieces of wood to put over the windows and doors and stuff, so they're making the necessary preparations," he said. "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."
Mabin said several of his friends have already evacuated South Florida. As for those who have stayed behind, " 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."
Safety Jordan Poyer bought a home in Deerfield Beach, Fla., this offseason. His fiancé, Rachel, and their baby girl are in Buffalo.
"My fiance's sister is going to school at FAU," Poyer said. "It's crazy, because I don't know if you saw the ticket prices, but they jacked them up to fly out. She flew up to Buffalo yesterday. We've still got some friends down there. I'm encouraging them to get out of there."
Poyer said his house is supposed to be "hurricane-proof," but with Irma being one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded, he's wondering how true that is.
"With 180 mph winds ... that's really my main concern," he said. "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."
Guard John Miller is a Miami native. He said some of his family members were en route to Georgia on a 15-passenger van. His father, meanwhile, was on his way to Buffalo.
"I try to get constant updates and stuff like that," Miller said. "Last I checked, I know it was a category 5, picking up a lot of wind, 180 miles per hour, so it’s pretty scary."
The Bills' injury report provided some good news Thursday.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was upgraded to a full participant after being limited Wednesday because of a hip injury. Additionally, running back LeSean McCoy was limited after coming down with an illness. That's good news, though, because the team initially reported McCoy - who was not present for the portion of practice open to the media – would be out.
"What I saw, you really want to know? Yeah, he got a little bit ill at practice," coach Sean McDermott said. Maybe he didn’t like the play call, I don’t know."
McDermott didn't sound worried about McCoy's status for Sunday.
"I saw him dancing around, it looked like he was good," the coach said. "He had a good practice."
McCoy declined to speak with reporters after practice. Also listed as a limited practice participant was safety Colt Anderson (foot). Full participants were Dareus, wide receiver Jordan Matthews (sternum), quarterback Tyrod Taylor (concussion) and tackle Cordy Glenn (foot).
Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion) and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee) did not practice.
The TVs inside the Bills' locker room have been locked on one channel only this week: Film of the Jets.
"It's definitely something good," linebacker Preston Brown said. "You always have them around. I mean, you're always thinking about it. You look up there and say, 'ok, what is it? Third and 2? I'm thinking this right now.' So you can do a little bit while you're sitting in the locker room. If you just look up and catch a play, it might help you on Sunday. We can always prepare until the ball is kicked."