Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has been suspended one game after he blind-sided New Orleans Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore following a testy exchange between Lattimore and Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on Sunday.
"Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional," the NFL wrote in a letter to Evans.
Evans acknowledged his guilt after the game.
“During the third quarter, after a play had ended, you struck an unsuspecting opponent in the back, knocking him to the ground,” Jon Runyan, the league’s vice president of football operations, wrote to Evans. “Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”
Saints coach Sean Payton wanted Evans ejected for the dangerous hit and the other blows he delivered to Lattimore.
Evans followed up the hit by slamming his elbow into Lattimore's face mask and reaching back for another punch, a blow that was altered when Saints defensive back De'Vante Harris raced toward a former teammate in defense of a current one.
Payton, who ran all the way out to midfield in defense of his player, wasn't happy that Evans was allowed to remain in the game.
"I know it went to New York to look at, and if there's not an ejection in that situation, then I don't know when there's supposed to be an ejection," Payton said.
Rookie Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore proved Sunday he's not about to back down from a fight.