NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan officially decided to suspend Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for one game after he escalated the melee that occurred during the team’s Week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
The suspension was handed down Monday afternoon. It didn’t take long for Runyan to reach his decision and he was explicitly clear as to why he ruled as such.
“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.”
The suspension isn’t a surprise This is the second altercation involving Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, whom was the target of Evans’ ire. Although Runyan doesn’t cite Evans’ status as a repeat offender, it’s very likely that played a big role in the decision.
Regardless, there’s an interesting tidbit of information at the bottom of the NFL’s press release: Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks could be apart of the appeals process.
“Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Evans may appeal the suspension. Any appeal will be heard and decided by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the hearing officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.”
As it turns out, there is a chance Brooks will hear the appeal, because NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero later reported that Evans does in fact plan to appeal the suspension.
#Bucs WR Mike Evans plans to appeal his one-game suspension, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 19, 2022
As promising as this sounds, it’s not likely the NFLPA places Brooks on the hearing if things develop that way. And, even if it does, it’s not likely Brooks cuts Evans any slack. Evans simply can’t run all the way from the sideline and throw himself into an unsuspecting player like he did. And as Runyan states, the brawl doesn’t happen if Evans doesn’t involve himself.
Brooks will agree with Runyan and he’ll uphold the suspension.
Never say never. But I definitely wouldn’t get my hopes up on this one.
Featured image via Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports