The NFL has suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for one game on Monday for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Evans ran up from behind and knocked over Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore after a confrontation between Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who was on the sideline because of a sore shoulder, and Lattimore.
“During the third quarter, after a play had ended, you struck an unsuspecting opponent in the back, knocking him to the ground,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Evans to inform him of the suspension. “Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”
According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, Evans plans to appeal the suspension. He has three days to do so.
If he does appeal and lose, Evans will miss Sunday’s game against the New York Jets and will be eligible to return to the Buccaneers’ active roster on Monday, Nov. 13.
Evans was flagged 15 yards for running across the field and drilling Lattimore in the back, then pouncing on Lattimore when he hit the ground. A Saints player then tackled Evans to get him off Lattimore.
The dustup started when Winston pushed Lattimore in the back of his helmet while appearing to suggest that he go back to his own sideline. Lattimore turned around and shoved Winston in the chest. Then Evans flew in for the tackle.
— TriRoc Podcast (@TriRocPodcast) November 6, 2017
Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter called Evans’ and Winston’s actions “totally unacceptable.”
“Totally, totally unacceptable behavior, first by Jameis and then by Mike,” Koetter said prior to Evans suspension was announced. “Jameis cannot, under any circumstances, come off the sideline when he’s not even playing in the game. And trash talking is trash talking, but to go out and tap another player, touch another player, whatever you want to call it at all on the field — that’s inexcusable.
“The Saints player responded and then Mike responded. That’s not acceptable either. That’s not having your teammates’ back. That’s just wrong.
“If I would have known what I know [now], Mike probably should have been ejected. And maybe Jameis should have been ejected.”
Evans leads the Buccaneers in receptions (40), targets (72) and receiving yards (532), and his four touchdown receptions are tied with Cameron Brate for the team lead this season.