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Mike Evans suspended 1 game for hit that incited fight

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The NFL has suspended Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans for one game for steamrolling Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore during a post-play skirmish that escalated quickly. Evans and Lattimore were both ejected.

Evans was singled out because he forcibly inserted himself into the dead-ball activity. He was almost off the field after the Bucs did not convert a third down in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Seeing Lattimore getting into a verbal argument with quarterback Tom Brady and a physical argument with running back Leonard Fournette, Evans returned to the field and leveled Lattimore, creating an even larger fight scene. Lattimore was ejected for a forcible blow to Fournette under his facemask. The ejections were part of an automatic replay review by senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson.

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Evans can appeal the disciplinary action, which is held under an expedited review since it involves a suspension. If upheld, this will be the second time that Evans was suspended for participating in a fight, a 2017 one-game suspension was handed down, also involving Lattimore. In the 2017 game, Evans also comes crashing in on Lattimore to protect his quarterback, Jameis Winston, who is now the starting quarterback for the Saints. Evans has no other disciplinary action (fines or suspensions) against him in his career, according to Spotrac. Because the time between incidents without another disciplinary action from the league exceeds 32 consecutive games, the NFL does not consider this a second offense for purposes of determining punishment.

The disciplinary czar of the NFL, vice president of policy and administration Jon Runyan, specifically made the case for the suspension in a letter to Evans.

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.

Evans is slated to miss the Week 3 game against the Packers and eligible to be reactivated on Monday Sept. 26.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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