Mike Evans Makes Pledge to Buccaneers

Mike Evans

Getty Mike Evans returns from his one-game suspension after getting in a brawl at New Orleans in Week 2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Mike Evans says he made a firm resolution going forward after the second suspension of his career.

Evans returns to action on October 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs after serving a one-game suspension due to his involvement in a brawl with the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs painfully missed Evans against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 as the offense sputtered until the final minute in a 14-12 loss.

“I’ve got to be smart [for] my team,” Evans told the media on Thursday, September 28. “This is my second time being suspended for an incident like this — I can’t let it happen again. I’ve got to be better for my team.”

Evans served a one-game suspension in 2017 after an altercation with Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore. The two went at it again during this year’s Week 2 matchup, but Evans took the brunt of the punishment for shoving the Saints veteran to the ground. Lattimore didn’t serve a suspension despite his prior altercations with Bucs players before Evans got involved.

Despite sitting out a game, Evans still leads the Bucs in receiving yards with 132 yards, and he has a team-best 16.5 yards per grab. Russell Gage nearly caught up to Evans with 12 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown, but much of that game as the Bucs hurried to rally late.

“I felt like I could have helped us win last week,” Evans said. “It was hard to watch that, but I just tried to be as positive as possible.”

Evans Sees Silver Lining Amid Suspension, Injuries

Evans saw concrete positives in his week away from the team. He returned on Monday, September 26, just before the team left for Miami during Hurricane Ian.

“I got to spend time with my family, got to rest and heal all the way up,” Evans said. “I’m feeling fresh, that’s a positive.”

Evans endured a hamstring injury during training camp, and he showed up on regular season injury reports though he played the first two games. Injuries have plagued Bucs receivers this season with games missed by Julio Jones and Chris Godwin thus far. Gage and Breshad Perriman appeared on the injury reports, too, but haven’t missed games yet — though that could change soon for Perriman.

“Breshad is doubtful unless he has a miraculous recovery by Sunday,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said about Perriman’s knee and hamstring issues during Friday’s press conference.

The Bucs potentially could have Evans, Jones, and Godwin all back against the Chiefs for the first time since the season opener in Dallas. Jones and Godwin will be game-time decisions, Bowles said.

“Yeah, I mean, we definitely want to be as healthy as possible because we have a really talented roster,” Evans said. “When we’re healthy, we’re tough to beat. It’s good to get everybody back healthy.”

Evans: ‘We’ve Just Got to Come With It’

While the Chiefs give up 227.3 passing yards per game, the Bucs haven’t lit things up through the air this season at just 211.3 yards per contest. Evans noted that the Chiefs have a “different secondary” from the 2020 team that the Bucs put up 55 points against in two games that season, including the Super Bowl.

“They’ve still got [L’Jarius] Sneed – he plays outside more,” Evans said. “He’s a good corner. Their young corners, they play hard. They have trouble finding the ball at times, but other than that they’re physical, they tackle well, they play hard.”

“Their defense – they’re not a bad defense at all,” Evans added. “They play [well] together and disguise [coverages] well. We’ve just got to come with it — it’ll be a good challenge for us. We’re looking forward to it.”

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