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Bucs journal: NFL upholds Mike Evans suspension

LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times  Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) is seen at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (12) is seen at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017.
Published Nov. 8, 2017

TAMPA

The NFL announced that WR Mike Evans' appeal of his one-game suspension was denied, so he will miss Sunday's home game against the Jets.

Appeals officer James Thrash, who is jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA, upheld the suspension Tuesday. Evans blindsided Saints CB Marshon Lattimore from behind during Sunday's game. Lattimore had shoved Bucs QB Jameis Winston after Winston came into the field and poked him in the back of the helmet. Coach Dirk Koetter said what Winston and Evans did was "totally unacceptable" and that Evans "probably" should have been ejected.

"I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Sunday's game," Evans said. "I saw my quarterback getting shoved and I let my emotions get the better of me. My response was not appropriate and not a true indication of who I am as a player and a person. I take pride in playing the game the right way and I realize it was unprofessional and hurt my team."

Get ready for Godwin

The first half of Chris Godwin's (right) rookie season has been quiet.

The Bucs' third-round pick from Penn State has made big plays on special teams and has had exactly one catch in each of the past five games — eight total, for 83 yards — but could step into a much larger role Sunday with Evans suspended.

"I think I'm making good progress," Godwin said last week. "It's understanding the offense, recognizing where to be, having a feel for the game at this level, and week by week, I'm getting more and more comfortable with that."

Koetter said last week that Godwin has made progress in his first two months in the NFL, even if it hasn't translated to more passes being thrown his way yet.

Godwin has made two big plays in kick coverage. In Sunday's loss to New Orleans, he recovered a muffed punt to set up the Bucs' only touchdown, and he leaped into the end zone to fish out a punt so it could be downed at the 2-yard line in the Oct. 29 loss to Carolina.

"It was awesome to make a play for my team, and that helps our defense," Godwin said of his play against Carolina.

Godwin's quarterback at Penn State in 2014-15, Christian Hackenberg, is a backup with the Jets.

Roster move

As expected, the Bucs activated QB Ryan Griffin (left) from injured reserve, setting him up to be active this week as the top backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick while Winston is held out to allow his shoulder to heal.

Griffin, 27, was competing with Fitzpatrick for the top backup job in preseason when he injured his shoulder, forcing him to miss two months of practice. He is in his third year with the Bucs but has never played in an NFL game.

To make room for Griffin, the Bucs waived CB Deji Olatoye, who had played in one game on special teams but was inactive Sunday.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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