NFL suspends Bucs receiver Evans for one game

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NEW ORLEANS — Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended without pay for one game for his role in Sunday’s altercation with New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the NFL announced Monday.

Evans was suspended for violating unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules, the league said. Evans will not be eligible to return until after Sunday’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Evans is allowed to appeal the suspension under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. If he does appeal, the hearing will be before either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who have been jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association to rule on appeals of on-field player discipline.

Evans plans to appeal the suspension, sources told ESPN.

In a letter to Evans, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote, “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.”

Rule 13, Section 2, Article 8 (g) prohibits “unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who is out of the play or should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead.”

Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 prohibits any act which is “contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.”

No other players were suspended by the NFL on Monday.

This was not Evans’ first suspension for a scuffle with Lattimore. In 2017, Evans was suspended for one game for running onto the field and shoving Lattimore in the back.

On Sunday, Evans said he believed Lattimore punched running back Leonard Fournette in the face and pushed quarterback Tom Brady. He said he wasn’t concerned about being suspended because he felt like 2017 was a more flagrant violation of the rules and he wasn’t ejected at the time. But the NFL does take into consideration repeat offenses.

“He punched my teammate in the face. I just pushed him to the ground,” Evans said. “I just was trying to have my teammate’s back. All I seen was he punched somebody in the face. I was like, ‘I ain’t gonna let that happen.'”

In 2020, Lattimore was fined $10,500 for unnecessary roughness for shoving Evans in the back, prompting Evans to rip his helmet off.

If Evans’ suspension stands, it would further deplete a receiving corps already dealing with multiple injuries. The Buccaneers played Sunday without Chris Godwin and Julio Jones.

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