September 27, 2023

Bucs Life

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Mike deserved so much better from ownership/management

4 min read

Mike Evans TD vs. Vikings /

“Special” from the moment he arrived

From his first touchdown reception (2014) from Mike Glennon in a game the Bucs won against the Steelers (27-24) to his first one-hundred-yard (124 yards) game versus the Browns in week 9. Evans scored two touchdowns in the loss, marking his first multi-touchdown game as well. You could easily tell that this big fella (6’4 3/4″ – 225 lbs.) was a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t so much fit the general description of your prototype wide receiver in the NFL. Randy Moss as a rookie was 6’4″ and 210lbs, but he was more of a rangy type guy with the speed that killed (once hand-timed at 4.25 seconds in the 40). Evans was fifteen pounds heavier and ran a 4.53. He was more like a tight-end playing receiver. A basketball player wandered over to a nearby football game and asked if he could play. The rest will be history — history that leads straight through Canton’s first ballot doors. Evans has always had a gift-of-grab, always able to dominate at the point of reception and make it look easy. You knew if the ball was anywhere close, Evans would make the rebound. Gifted with great hands, Evans has done what no other receiver in the NFL has ever done. Not Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, or Calvin “Megatron” Johnson ever finished their first nine seasons over the thousand-yard mark, and Evans can still add to that. Sadly, this will be the last time he will be attempting to extend that record in Tampa as a Buccaneer.

Heaven and Earth

Mike Evans isn’t just another Buccaneer. He’s become one of the Super Buccaneer players. His spot is already assured in the ring of honor. Just a handful of former players can claim their place in fan’s hearts like Evans can. Players like Mike Alstott, Ronde Barber, John Lynch, Derrick Brooks, and Leroy Selmon. The cream of the top crop. Make no mistake about it. With all due respect, this is not like when Gerald McCoy was shown the door — this is Mike Freaking Evans. His commitment to the community and charitable giving have never come into question. He is a first-rate citizen who has consistently used his position and star power with the team to further the reach of good and humanity to those who were so in need of a hand. He pays it forward, from the aforementioned charity work to his interactions with fans that he meets in public while out living life away from the field. You just don’t run into people that have anything bad to say about the man. On the business side of the game, Evans has restructured his contract to facilitate the ability to keep or sign important players several times. I watched as Bucs’ ownership and management moved heaven and earth to bring in as many top-rate players as could be had to put around Tom Brady to win another championship. And that, of course, is what you want from management. My point, of course, is that nothing was more important, so they found ways, and Jason Licht worked his cap magic and made it happen. Where there is a will, there’s a way.

Right square in the Jewels

There are times when Billionaire owners need to step up to the plate and endure an inconvenience to their wallet for the sake of the fans who help keep the profits rolling in. Keeping Mike Evans a Buccaneer for his career and life is just one of those times. While the Glazers are no Hugh Culverhouse, this falls into the Culverhouse category of the types of things he would have done. A fellow Bucslife writer, Eric Riggs, recently had an article on this very thing. Ownership has again let us down in a way that has shaken the core of their team’s most diehard fans. It could have gotten done, even if it meant sacrificing another player to make it happen. Maybe the team will reverse their decision — at some point before Evans’ contract expires. Who knows if Evans would even go along with it at that point (I feel like he would if the team reached out). As it stands today, this is Mike Evans’ last season in Tampa. There are many players that an ownership/front office can play the “It’s just the unfortunate business of the game” card. Mike Evans is not one of those players. He’s more like Family Royalty, and we all just got kicked right square in the jewels. Go Bucs!!