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, the league said. Evans will not be eligible to return until Sunday’s home opener against the Green Bay Packers.
Evans may appeal the suspension under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. If he appeals, the hearing will be for Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, who are jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association to decide appeals against the discipline of players on the field.
Evans plans to appeal the suspension, sources told ESPN.
In a letter to Evans, Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, wrote, “After a play was over, you walked to your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates confronting the Saints players, you ran to that.” area on the field and violently threw your body and hit 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 behavior had your opponent seriously can injure and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”
Rule 13, Section 2, Rule 8(g) prohibits “unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting or throwing the body against or at a player who is out of play or who should not reasonably have foreseen such contact by an opponent, for or after the ball is dead.”
Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 prohibits any act “contrary to generally accepted principles of sportsmanship”.
No other players were banned by the NFL on Monday.
This was not Evans’ first suspension for a scuffle with Lattimore. In 2017, Evans was banned for one game for driving onto the field and pushing Lattimore in the back.
On Sunday, Evans said he believed Lattimore punched Leonard Fournette in the face and pushed quarterback Tom Brady. He said he was not concerned about a suspension because he felt 2017 was a flagrant violation of the rules and he was not evicted at the time. But the NFL does take into account repeated violations.
“He punched my teammate in the face. I just pushed him to the ground,” Evans said. “I was just trying to get my teammate back. All I saw was him punching someone in the face. I thought, ‘I’m not going to let that happen.'”
In 2020, Lattimore was fined $10,500 for undue roughness for pushing Evans in the back, causing Evans to rip his helmet off.
If Evans’ suspension holds, it would further exhaust a receiving corps already dealing with multiple injuries. The Buccaneers played without Chris Godwin and Julio Jones on Sunday.
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