CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday was delayed about 6 1/2 hours due to mechanical issues and the team didn’t arrive at its hotel until just before midnight.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity because the team does not release details of its travel itinerary.

The Bucs play NFC South rival Carolina at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.

The flight, which scheduled to leave at an executive airport connected to Tampa International Airport, was scheduled to leave at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday but players remained on the tarmac for more than five hours waiting for the plane to depart. They eventually deplaned and boarded a different plane and left immediately for Charlotte, arriving at 11:15 p.m., where they were taken to a downtown hotel.

It was a rough start to the weekend for the Buccaneers (6-3), who are looking to bounce back from a 38-3 shellacking last week at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers (3-6) are looking to snap a four-game losing streak.


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