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Bucs’ Mike Evans loses appeal, will serve one-game suspension

The receiver’s altercation with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore will leave Tom Brady without one of his primary targets against the Packers.
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) get into an altercation during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game in New Orleans.
Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) get into an altercation during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game in New Orleans. [ JONATHAN BACHMAN | AP ]
Published Sep. 21|Updated Sep. 21

TAMPA — For the second time since 2017, Mike Evans will serve a one-game suspension for fighting with Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore.

The NFL on Wednesday denied Evans’ appeal of his suspension for the fight in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 20-10 win Sunday in New Orleans.

Evans and Lattimore were ejected from the game.

Evans is suspended without pay. Because of the restructuring of his contract to provide salary-cap space, he will lose a game check worth $62,200.

Evans’ agent, Deryk Gilmore, said in a statement that he was disappointed in the league’s decision.

“We are disappointed that the league upheld the suspension when there are several arguments of players doing more egregious violations including punching, kicking and choking players and not being suspended,” Gilmore said. “In addition, Evans had already been ejected, which is penalty enough, but the league chose to discipline him even more. This is unfortunate, but we will respect the league’s decision.”

Evans cannot rejoin the team until Monday.

Evans was suspended in 2017 for a blind-side hit on Lattimore in a game at New Orleans when the cornerback was in a heated sideline confrontation with then-Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

Related: NFL warns Bucs’ Bruce Arians about sideline outburts

Sunday’s incident began when Bucs quarterback Tom Brady exchanged words with Lattimore after the Bucs believed he had interfered during an incomplete pass to receiver Scotty Miller. Running back Leonard Fournette pushed Lattimore from the side, and Lattimore responded by shoving Fournette below the face mask, forcing his head back.

That’s when Evans came charging off the sideline and knocked Lattimore to the turf. Both players were ejected following offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Lattimore was not suspended, but the league has reviewed the incident and is likely to impose fines.

NFL vice president Jon Runyan said in a letter to Evans announcing the suspension that he caused a “melee” by striking “an unsuspecting” opponent.

“You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could’ve caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected by a professional.”

Evans’ suspension is a big loss for the Bucs, who could be without injured receivers Julio Jones (knee) and Chris Godwin (hamstring); both missed Sunday’s game at New Orleans.

Jones is not expected to practice until Thursday at the earliest. The Bucs could activate former Bills and Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley from the practice squad for the home opener against the Packers.

The Bucs also will be without starting defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (plantar fascia tear) and backup tackle Josh Wells (calf); the latter was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com. Follow @NFLSTROUD.

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