Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended without pay for one game for violations of the NFL unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, the league announced on Monday.
He will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers’ active roster on Monday, September 26, following the team’s September 25 game against Green Bay.
Evans was involved in an off-field scuffle with Saints corner Marshawn Lattimore in the Bucs’ 20-10 victory over the Saints on Sunday in New Orleans.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan, who issued the suspension, wrote the following letter to Evans explaining the suspension.
“After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation. You knocked your opponent to the ground, and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”
After the suspension came down, Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles gave his thoughts on what happened.
“Yes, he’ll get one game,” Bowles said about Evans’ suspension. “I found out about 10 minutes ago. He’ll have a one-game suspension. Like I said, the fighting alone loses a player for the next game [and] it hurts our team because we lose a very good ballplayer. We don’t want that, we don’t condone it, and we’ve got to move forward and try to find a way to win without him. But that should be a lesson to all of our other players.”
Evans appeared to be defending Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, but according to Bowles, there’s a “right way” to stand up for your teammates.
“It’s always a fine line,” Bowles said. “This is a controlled-aggression game. It’s a controlled-aggression game, and you try to protect your teammates, but you’ve got to do it the right way.”