Mike Evans will officially miss the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Week 3 game against the Green Bay Packers after his one-game suspension was affirmed by hearing officer James Thrash, according to multiple reports.
The NFL suspended Evans for one game for violating the NFL's unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules in Week 2. He and New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore were ejected for their role in a massive brawl that involved both teams. Lattimore was not suspended, though.
NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said in a letter to Evans that Evans "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."
Evans initially engaged in the fight after Tom Brady and Lattimore exchanged words and Leonard Fournette pushed Lattimore. Evans rushed from the sideline to tackle Lattimore.
Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore were both ejected after this scuffle 😳pic.twitter.com/kNrU3QDTgS
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) September 18, 2022
Brady called suspension 'ridiculous'
Brady was quick to defend the actions of his receiver. In his weekly podcast following the game, Brady said emotions boiled over and in the heat of the moment, Evans reacted. Brady also said Evans didn't deserve to miss a game for what he did.
"Mike knows how I feel about him," Brady said. "So in the end, emotions are a part of sports. Sometimes they boil over, and they obviously did [Sunday], and it's an unfortunate circumstance. I don't think it deserved any type of suspension; I think that's ridiculous. Hopefully we can move past it and get to a better place."
Now, Evans' suspension could have been in part because he's a repeat offender. In 2017, the NFL suspended Evans for one game after he delivered a blindside hit during a fight — also with Lattimore.
Evans didn't defend his actions, but noted "it gets spicy when you come to New Orleans." He added that he ran over to Lattimore after he saw Lattimore punch Fournette and push Brady. During the fight, Evans reportedly told a referee "that's Tom Brady. What do you want me to do?"
MIKE EVANS SAID “THAT’S TOM BRADY, WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO”
— Scott Whittle (@TheScottWhittle) September 18, 2022
Buccaneers receiver problems
Losing Evans is big, but it's even worse considering Tampa Bays' depth problem at the receiver position.
The team will likely miss Chris Godwin for another game and could be without veteran Julio Jones again (both are dealing with hamstring injuries). The only other experienced wideouts on the team are Scotty Miller, Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman. The Buccaneers signed Cole Beasley to the practice squad with the intent to promote him to the active roster, but that quartet of receivers won't replace Evans, Godwin and potentially Jones.
Brady will surely miss his No. 1 option as well. His passer rating, completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio and yards per attempt all drop considerably when Evans isn't on the field, according to ESPN. The Packers also have the fourth-best passing defense in the NFL with Pro Bowler cornerback Jaire Alexander patrolling the field.