On Wednesday, the NFL upheld the league’s one-game suspension of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, who was involved in an on-field fight between the Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints in Week 2. The suspension was originally announced on Monday, which led to an immediate appeal from Evans’ camp. The appeal was heard out by the league on Tuesday.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, this one-game suspension will cost Evans $62,222, his Week 3 game check.
Below is a statement from Evans’ camp on the failed appeal attempt:
“We are disappointed that the league upheld a suspension when there are several arguments of players doing more egregious violations including: punching, kicking, and choking players and not being suspended. In addition, Evans had already been ejected, which is penalty enough, but the league chose to discipline him even more. This is unfortunate, but we will respect the league’s decision.”
Beyond losing Evans, the Buccaneers have other major question marks at the offensive line and receiver positions entering their Week 3 matchup with the Green Bay Packers. Yesterday, Tampa head coach Todd Bowles stated that the team was likely going to miss offensive lineman Josh Wells and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks this week. Wells was placed on the injured reserve earlier today, making his “out” status official for the game.
Wells was Donovan Smith’s replacement at left tackle, as Smith has been dealing with a hyperextended elbow that kept him from playing against the Saints last week. According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Smith did not practice with the team on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Julio Jones — who also missed Week 2 with a knee injury — had a scheduled day off on Wednesday, so his status is undetermined. Chris Godwin, another key receiver for Tampa, did not return to practice on Wednesday after sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, per Auman.
As it stands today, Tampa’s cluster injuries offensively, along with the suspension of Evans, are the X factor going into Sunday’s game.