Most NFL receivers are taught to avoid contact at all costs. Catch, run, duck/fall/step out of bounds. Anything but engage with an overzealous linebacker or defensive back in the open field.
Mike Evans isn’t like most receivers.
The Buccaneers’ rookie pass-catcher told Erik Kuselias of Pro Football Talk that he prefers hitting a defender — legally — over scoring a touchdown.
“Let me level a guy,” Evans said. “If it’s clean. If it’s clean, no flag. Yeah, definitely.”
Some say Evans, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 240 pounds, is a tight end trapped in a receiver’s body. Physicality has always been part of his game, and he’s embraced it.
“[I]n high school I played for a running team, so I had to make sure I knew how to block,” Evans recalled. “And then you know I got to college and Coach [Kevin] Sumlin and [receivers coach] David Beaty said, ‘If you don’t block, you don’t play.’ That’s what their motto was, so you know I had to block and I just like helping my teammates out as much as possible.”
Drafted with the seventh overall pick, Evans is expected to help the Bucs win — by finding the endzone, not a tackling dummy. But his new teammates will surely respect his willingness to sacrifice and do the dirty work. It’s something you don’t see much of these days.
(Photo credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images)