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NFL builds contingency plan for 'Fins, Panthers games

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The NFL is planning for the possibility that this week's games at Miami and Carolina will not be played as scheduled due to Hurricane Matthew.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with league officials Thursday to formulate contingency plans for the Dolphins and Panthers if each team is unable to play home games because of the weather. NFL spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz outlined the league's actions in a statement released Thursday:

"We are in close contact with local and state authorities about the hurricane. As always, our overriding concern is for public safety and not doing anything that will divert important resources away from communities that may be in distress.

"Consistent with that, we conducting contingency planning for Sunday's Tennessee at Miami game as well as Monday's Tampa Bay at Carolina game."

The Dolphins closed their team facility Thursday in anticipation of the Category 4 storm.

The Weather Channel expects Hurricane Matthew to reach South Florida on Friday and Saturday, and could bring winds from 39 mph to north of 74 mph to the southeast coast. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida on Thursday as the state braces for Hurricane Matthew.

Thursday was a planned day off for players after last Thursday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Coaches and the rest of team personnel are instructed to handle their preparations as needed.

At this point, the Dolphins and Panthers games are still on as scheduled, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

A Dolphins spokesperson told Rapoport: "No decisions have been made for contingency as of yet. We are monitoring the storm closely and will make adjustments as needed."

On Tuesday, coach Adam Gase said his team is preparing for the storm impacting their practice schedule and this week's contest.

"We have protocols that we have in place," Gase said, via the Associated Press. "It's just now kind of a wait-and-see for us."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday on his weekly radio show there have been preliminary discussions about moving the game to Nashville if necessary.

"We're prepared to go down, to travel down there," Mularkey said. "And if we got an extra home game, that wouldn't hurt either."

The NFL hopes to avoid moving or rescheduling each contest, but Mother Nature doesn't always comply with human desires.

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