Family thanks Evans for tribute to dying fan
One of the most emotional, special moments of the Bucs' 2014 season came in Detroit in December when then-rookie WR Mike Evans caught a touchdown pass, went down on one knee and said a short prayer. He was paying tribute to Drew Newsome, a Bucs fan from Largo who was battling a rare form of cancer.
Two days later, Newsome died at age 27. Evans' gesture — he had signed a football and jersey for Newsome, a longtime Bucs fan who had his wish fulfilled in his final days and was buried with Evans' jersey — resonated with the family during a difficult time.
"It's a blessing to be in this position," Evans said that day in December. "Sad story for him, but I scored that touchdown for him."
On Tuesday, the Newsome family — Drew's father Kelly, brother Adam, sister Kelci and others — met Evans after the Bucs' practice and thank him for his tribute to Drew. Some wore Evans' No. 13 jersey as they greeted him as players signed autographs after the open practice.
"It's amazing. I just wanted to shake the kid's hand," said Kelly, a letter carrier in Largo who has worked with the post office for 27 years. "It's pretty special what he did for him. He didn't have to do that."
There's very little hazing in today's NFL, but one tradition that lingers is rookies carrying shoulder pads off the practice field for veterans. Josh Keyes, an undrafted rookie LB from Boston College, had double-duty Tuesday, walking off wearing his pads while holding shoulder pads for veteran LBs Lavonte David and Orie Lemon.
That isn't always the case — USA Today caught Bucs DT Gerald McCoy carrying undrafted rookie DT Quayshawne Buckley's shoulder pads for him after the two stayed late after practice for extra work.
Greg Auman, Times staff writer
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