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Bucs’ Mike Evans suspended one game without pay for Saints hit

By Greg Auman
Bucs WR Mike Evans, shown in Sunday's loss to the Saints, has been suspended one game for his hit on Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, shown tackling him during Sunday's game. (LOREN ELLIOTT | TIMES)

Bucs WR Mike Evans, who hit Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore from behind during Sunday's game, has been suspended without pay for Sunday's home game against the Jets, the league announced.

Lattimore had shoved Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston after Winston came onto the field and poked him in the back of the helmet. Evans ran up and hit Lattimore from behind, knocking him to the ground. The Bucs receiver apologized after the game, calling his actions "very childish" and "unprofessional."

Evans was assessed a 15-yard penalty but not ejected. Saints coach Sean Payton said after the game that Evans should have been ejected, and Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Monday he was disappointed by what he saw.

"Totally unacceptable behavior, first by Jameis and then by Mike," Koetter said. "Jameis cannot under any circumstances come off the sideline when he's not even playing in the game. Trash talking is trash talking, but to go out and tap another player, touch another player at all on the field, that's inexcusable. Then the Saints player responded and Mike reacted, and that's not acceptable either. That's not having your teammate's back, that just wrong."

The NFL announced his suspension as being for "violations of unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness."

Jon Runyan, the NFL's vice president of football operations, wrote in a letter to Evans that "your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

Evans has three days to appeal his suspension, though there was no immediate word on whether he intended to do so.

Evans acknowledged Sunday that he might be suspended, saying he wanted to play and help his team, but that the league would do what it had to do.