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Bucs’ Mike Evans on suspension: ‘I can’t let it happen again’

The ninth-year veteran receiver missed last Sunday’s 14-12 loss to the Packers.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans (13), quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) get into an altercation during the second half of the Bucs' 20-10 win in New Orleans on Sept. 18. Evans was suspended a game for his role in starting the scuffle.
Bucs receiver Mike Evans (13), quarterback Tom Brady (12) and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23) get into an altercation during the second half of the Bucs' 20-10 win in New Orleans on Sept. 18. Evans was suspended a game for his role in starting the scuffle. [ JONATHAN BACHMAN | AP ]
Published Sep. 29|Updated Oct. 1

He’ll return from his one-game suspension steeped in resolve and remorse. The Bucs offense has managed three touchdowns in as many games, and Mike Evans bears partial responsibility for that mild funk.

“I’ve got to be better for my team,” the ninth-year receiver said Thursday. “I felt like I could’ve helped us win last week.”

Instead, Evans was serving a one-game banishment during that 14-12 loss to Green Bay for helping instigate what the NFL deemed “a melee” during the Bucs’ 20-10 victory against the Saints in Week Two.

The suspension was the second in five years for Evans, who charged from the sideline and knocked longtime Saints nemesis Marshon Lattimore to the turf after Lattimore had shoved Bucs tailback Leonard Fournette. Though several teammates defended Evans’ actions, he still lost a game check (only $62,200 due to a low base salary after restructuring his contract).

Fournette and Lattimore each were fined $13,367.

“I mean, he was protecting his team,” Fournette told reporters days after the game. “I try not to go into too much detail on it, but I feel like he should’ve never got suspended. What would y’all do if y’all were in his shoes?”

The silver lining? Evans, nagged by a hamstring injury during the preseason, said he got to spend quality time with his family and “heal all the way up.”

Should Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) continue progressing and be available for Sunday’s showdown against the Chiefs, the Bucs could have their three top receivers available for the first time since Week One.

“I’ve got to be smart for my team,” Evans told reporters via Zoom from Miami Gardens, where the Bucs relocated to avoid the effects of Hurricane Ian. “It’s my second time being suspended for an incident like this. I can’t let it happen again.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls

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