Winter 2022

WR Mike Evans thanks God after record day helps Buccaneers clinch division

The 2022 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-8) certainly haven’t made anything easy, but on Sunday in Tampa, they did just enough in their 30-24 victory against the Carolina Panthers to win their division and earn the No. 4 seed, which gives them a home game in the upcoming NFC playoffs.

It’s the third straight time the Buccaneers have made the postseason, winning the NFC South last year and two years ago becoming just the seventh wild-card team to capture a Super Bowl title.

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Tampa Bay’s hero on Sunday was wide receiver Mike Evans, whose 10 receptions for 207 yards and three long touchdowns helped the Bucs overcome an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit and quell the challenge from a resurgent Panthers squad.

With his monster performance, Evans reminded everyone once again that he’s one of the most talented and reliable receivers in the NFL. He now sits at 1,124 receiving yards this season, becoming the first player in the history of the league to begin a career with nine straight seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving.

In the press conference after Sunday’s game, Evans made sure to deflect the praise that was sure to come his way.

“I just thank God that He’s blessed me to be healthy, and I have great people around me to help me accomplish this feat,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep extending it every year I play.”

The 6-foot-5, 231-pound veteran from Texas A&M even displays his faith on his body. On the inside of his right bicep, the 29-year-old proudly sports a tattoo with the words from Psalm 23.

 

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Evans, Tampa Bay’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year from 2019-21, is very active in giving back to his community through his foundation, the Mike Evans Family Foundation, established with his wife, Ashli, in 2017. According to the organization’s website, it focuses on “empowering youth, encouraging education and taking a stand against domestic violence.”

Fellow Bucs receiver Scotty Miller remembers seeing firsthand the impact Evans’ foundation was having in the community when he came into the Bucs’ facilities on an off day.

“[I saw] probably 30-40 little kids here and Mike’s there putting on an event for these kids, gifts everywhere for all the kids,” Miller said when Evans’ most recent nomination was announced. “No news cameras there, nobody even knew about it except for Mike and a couple other people in the building. So that just really shows you what type of guy Mike is. You never really know what he’s doing behind closed doors, but he’s always doing something for somebody else.”

For Evans, his desire to help others starts with his faith.

“It’s always been my dream to help people and pay it forward. It’s something I’ve always done and it’s always been in my heart,” Evans said on the “Faith on the Field Show” in April 2022. “… I got baptized when I was in seventh grade. That moment was special. And ever since I just felt God with me all the time.”

“A relationship with God doesn’t mean you will not go through tough times, it just means you lean on Him more,” Evans continued on the show. “(He) gets you through every tough time. You just gotta lean on Him. No matter what it is, He can get you through.”

With the NFC South now secured, Tampa Bay will play the Atlanta Falcons (6-10) in Week 18 without much pressure as it seeks to record a winning record for the third straight season. The game against the Falcons is scheduled for Sunday in Atlanta, while the kickoff time is yet to be determined.

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