Tampa Bay Buccaneers star wide receiver Mike Evans caught a fan’s message and reached out to a St. Petersburg area family who recently lost their son in an auto accident.
WFLA’s Gabrielle Shirley reported the story Thursday.
Evans sent a signed football and a letter expressing condolences and prayers for Michael Schiff’s family in November, Shirley reported. Schiff, a 19-year-old St. Petersburg native and University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg student, died in an auto accident Oct. 11 according to The Insider.
Shirley reported that Schiff’s high school friend, Brett Danyali, contacted the Buccaneers after learning about Schiff’s death because Schiff was a big fan of Evans. The Bucs responded and had Evans write the letter and send the signed football as a surprise for the Schiff family.
Evans came up big in the Buccaneers’ bounce-back win in Week 10 with six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers.
He had quieter games in recent weeks such as his four-catch performance for 64 yards against the New Orleans Saints. Evans posted five or fewer receptions every week since his monster game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4 when he caught seven balls for 122 yards and a TD.
His four catches against the Saints drew Bruce Arian’s criticism of quarterback Tom Brady for not throwing to the Pro Bowl receiver often enough. Brady responded by targeting Evans the most, 11 times, out of any receiver in the 46-23 win over the Panthers.
NBC Sports Boston’s Darren Hartwell wrote that Evans joined rare company with his TD catch against the Panthers. Only Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski have caught seven or more red-zone TDs from Brady in the first 10 regular season games according to NFL Research.
Evans leads the team in receiving with 40 catches for 514 yards and eight TDs. He may have career lows statistically as Tampa Bay Times writer Rick Stroud noted Nov. 10, but Evans is surrounded by more skill player talent this year than past seasons.
Evans could face one of his biggest individual matchup challenges this season when the Buccaneers host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in Week 11.
Buccaneers.com writer Scott Smith believes Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey will likely shadow Evans because Brady targeted Evans the most last Sunday. Whoever Ramsey shadows could pose a challenge as he slowed down Seahawks star receiver D.K. Metcalf in Week 10, Smith noted. Metcalf mustered two catches for 28 yards, and the Seahawks lost 23-16.
Evans’ poses a bigger challenge for Ramsey, Eric Williams of Sports Illustrated’s Ram Digest wrote, because of Evans’ experience and route-running skills. Evans has a size advantage at 6-5 in facing the Rams’ secondary, Cameron DaSilva of USA Today’s Rams Wire wrote, which makes the 6-1 Ramsey having a strong game key for the team’s success.
Evans and company will sport the Buccaneers’ new all-pewter uniforms for the second time this season when facing the Rams according to USA Today’s Bucs Wire writer Luke Easterling.
The Buccaneers donned the all-pewter look in Week 3 when they beat the Denver Broncos 28-10. Evans had his biggest scoring game of the season that Sunday with two TD catches.