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Fires affect Texans


Chester Pitts did not know what stadium he would be entering in Sunday's game against the Chargers.

The Houston Texans went into Wednesday's practice not knowing when and where their Sunday game against San Diego would take place.

Earlier this week, the Chargers were forced to relocate to Phoenix because wildfires had chased many in the organization out of their homes, while Qualcomm Stadium has been turned into an evacuation center for displaced San Diego residents. As of Tuesday, an estimated 10,000 people were taking refuge there.

With Arizona on its bye week, the Chargers have started practicing at the Cardinals' facilities in Tempe as the NFL debates what to do about Sunday's game.

Meanwhile, the Texans have been waiting patiently for the league to make a decision.

"There's nothing you can do about that," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "We're going to play the game somewhere. We'll get that, I was told, decided tonight, hopefully. But like I said, that will work itself out, you're just concerned for all the people down there. That's a horrible thing. You just pray for them and hope it works out for all those families."

The team knows that LaDainian Tomlinson and company will bring their top game to any stadium, so Houston's focus must remain on game planning against them. Still, many players can't help but feel affected by the fires.

{QUOTE}Safety Will Demps, who is from Southern California and played at San Diego State, owns a home that could be in jeopardy of getting caught in the blaze.

"I don't know if one of my houses is still going to be there," Demps said.

"Right now, we're definitely going to play a game and that's everybody's concern, but you've just got to say your prayers and your heart goes out to the people and families at Qualcomm, actually living on the field or outside of the stadium. I think that's the bigger picture."

Demps first heard about the fires when his friend sent him a text message Monday, saying Chargers had been evacuated. The safety has been constantly checking on his friends and family.

"One of them said his parents lost their home," Demps said. "And I know friends staying at other friends' houses.

"It's kind of a mixed emotion for everybody."

Guard Chester Pitts, who also attended San Diego State, said his family in Southern California was doing well and was still a safe distance from the blaze.

"As it gets close to the game, obviously, it bothers you a little bit more, but we know we've got a game Sunday and we'll be playing the Chargers," Pitts said. "We just don't know where yet."

Most of the players, even those with family and friends near the fires, said that the indecision over Sunday's venue was not a distraction.

"We know we are going to be playing the Chargers, so we're going to prepare the same way," said wide receiver David Anderson, whose mother lives close to the Malibu Canyon fires. "As of where and when it's going to be, I don't think that matters too much to us as of right now. We're not too worried about it. It's going to be the San Diego Chargers and they're going to bring their 'A' game just like us, no matter where it is."

Because the Chargers are already in Arizona, playing at the Cardinals' stadium would make the most sense, but the venue is hosting a motorcycle show and turning it around for an NFL game Sunday night isn't probable. The game could take place there Monday night. Other possibilities include a Sunday afternoon game in Los Angeles, Dallas or Houston.

For more on the fires, click **here**.

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