Sunday could be the last-ever meeting between future Hall of Fame quarterback legends Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Tom Brady of Tampa Bay with Brady dropping serious hints about retirement after this season. The Buccaneers opened as 3-point home favorites for this matchup but have since been knocked down to -2.5 at Caesars Sportsbook after four-time Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans was suspended for Week 3.
A brawl broke out during Sunday's Buccaneers win in New Orleans. Evans decked Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, which escalated things. The two have a history of bad blood and that may have played a role in Evans being suspended, although Lattimore hasn't been. It's the second time in Evans' career that has been suspended for a run-in with Lattimore. He was also suspended one game in 2017 for hitting the defender.
Evans didn't think he would get suspended this time, saying after Sunday's game: "Naw, naw, naw, naw. That was terrible -- 2017 I didn't even get ejected and that was really a cheap shot. This wasn't. He punched my teammate in the face and I just pushed him to the ground."
Former NFL player Jon Runyan, who now serves as the league's vice president of football operations, issued the suspension and told Evans in a letter that, "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. 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 has eight catches for 132 yards and a touchdown this season. When the Bucs won at Green Bay in the NFC title game following the 2020 season, Evans had three catches for 51 yards and a score. Chris Godwin had five catches for 110 yards that day, but he missed the Saints game with a hamstring injury and more likely than not will miss the upcoming Green Bay game. It's not clear if Julio Jones will play after he missed Week 2 with a knee injury.
Evans can appeal and if so it would be heard by one of the league's two hearing officers, Derrick Brooks (the former Buccaneers Hall of Fame linebacker) and James Thrash, who are jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Those appeals are usually unsuccessful.
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