Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans suspended for Sunday's game against the Packers; he can appeal this week

Kassidy Hill
Packers News
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneners might be without one of their best playmakers when they face the Green Bay Packers in their Week 3 game Sunday.

The NFL has suspended Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for one game for his role in an on-field brawl during Tampa Bay's game against New Orleans on Sunday, the league announced on Monday.

Evans can appeal the decision through the players' collective bargaining agreement. Any appeal would be heard by either Derrick Brooks or James Brash, the ex-players jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players' Association to decide appeals for on-field disciplines. 

According to the parameters outlined in the collective bargaining agreement, Evans has three days to appeal and a hearing will be conducted on the Tuesday following his appeal. If he appeals today (Monday) as expected, then a hearing will be conducted tomorrow (Tuesday) with a decision to follow "as soon as practicable," according to the CBA, either Tuesday or Wednesday.

The league states all appeals "shall be limited to arguments why, based on the evidentiary record below, the amount of discipline, if any, should be modified." 

This is the second time Evans has been suspended, both for fights with Saints defensive back Marcus Lattimore. Evans was previously suspended in 2017. His status as a repeat offender likely will factor into his appeal. 

The suspension comes after Evans instigated a brawl in Tampa Bay's win over New Orleans on Sunday. Evans and Lattimore had been contentious all game, and it came to a head late in the game when Lattimore and Saints safety Marcus Maye were jawing with Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and running back Leonard Fournette. Evans ran into the scrum and pushed Lattimore to the ground before throwing Maye to the ground as well. Things escalated from there, with Evans and Lattimore being ejected from the game. 

According to the league, “NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued the suspension for a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(g) which 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,’ as well as Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which prohibits any act which is ‘contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.’” 

In a letter to Evans, 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.”

Runyan’s son, Jon Runyan Jr., is an offensive lineman for the Packers. 

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The Packers (1-1) and the Buccaneers (2-0) are set to face off in a rematch of the 2020 NFC championship on Sunday in Tampa Bay. Evans is the Buccaneer's leading receiver this season with eight catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. Last season, Evans led Tampa Bay with 14 touchdown receptions.

Without Evans, Tampa Bay would likely lean on a receiving corps that has seen it’s share of early injuries. Veteran Julio Jones (knee) and Chris Godwin did not play against the Saints.

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