Olivier Vernon will be in Dallas on Sunday morning getting ready to play the Cowboys in the season opener. His mind, though, may be elsewhere at that time.
That’s right around when Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in South Florida, if current projections hold up. Vernon said his father, Lascelles, a recently retired 25-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, is intent on riding out the storm at the family home in Miami Gardens.
“For right now he’s staying,” Vernon said on Thursday. “He wants to make sure the house is good. He’s in the evacuation zone. Maybe he’ll change his mind, I don’t know.
“I hope he changes his mind.”
Vernon said his mother has already left town and will be with family away from danger. That helps. But his father remaining behind has Vernon rooting for a meteorological miracle.
“Hopefully it weakens,” Vernon said of Irma. “Hopefully it weakens and maybe shifts up a little bit north and dies out. Only time will tell.”
Vernon, who spent his whole life in South Florida until he signed with the Giants last offseason, knows how calamitous these storms can be. He was in high school when Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida in 2005. He recalled being without power for a month. He was a baby when Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992.
“We’ve been lucky for, what’s it been, over 10 years?” Vernon said of the time since Wilma struck. “We’re probably long overdue for that, but hopefully it’s not destructive at all.”
He’ll try to get updates throughout the day on Sunday, either firsthand from his father or by watching the television in his room. With all of that going on, Vernon will have to focus as well on the Cowboys, sacking Dak Prescott, tackling Ezekiel Elliott, and facing left tackle Tyron Smith.
“I just try to be positive, be as positive as I can,” Vernon said. “I keep my family in mind and hope for the best. That’s basically all I can do right now.”
And his father?
“He’s been through it before,” Vernon said confidently. “He’ll be all right.”