Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans has been suspended without pay for one game for his role in a scuffle that resulted in him and New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore being ejected from the Buccaneers-Saints game.
The NFL said Monday that Evans violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules by knocking Lattimore to the ground when the Buccaneers star intervened in a confrontation that initially involved Lattimore and Bucs teammates Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette.
“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,” league vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter informing Evans of the discipline.
“You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams,” the letter said. “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.”
Evans, who can appeal the decision, was suspended for next Sunday’s home game against the Green Bay Packers.
It’s not the first suspension of Evans’ career. The other, a one-game ban in 2017, also involved Evans knocking Lattimore to the ground during a Bucs-Saints matchup at the Superdome.
The suspension figures to leave the Bucs shorthanded at receiver against the Packers, especially considering Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) are nursing injuries that kept them from playing last week.
Coach Todd Bowles was disappointed by news of the suspension.
“Like I said, the fighting alone, losing a player for the next game, it hurts our team because we lose a very good ballplayer,” Bowles said.
“We don’t want that, we don’t condone it and we’ve got to move forward and find a way to win without him,” the coach added. “But that should be a lesson to all our other players.”
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