For the first six years of his NFL career, Mike Evans was a very good player on a not-very-good Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. As Evans was becoming one of the best receivers in the league, catching 462 passes and 48 touchdowns, he would routinely give footballs away to fans after he scored.
He never thought anything of it. Why would he? It’s just a football. Of course, that changed when the Buccaneers signed Tom Brady before the 2020 season and Evans started catching his touchdowns from the Greatest Quarterback of All Time.
“You gotta understand,” Evans told For The Win. “Before Tom came to the Bucs I was always throwing balls away to the fans, I showed love to the fans by giving them a souvenir. When Tom came they started putting people in the back of the end zones and were chasing me down and saying this is a memorable ball. I wasn’t very aware but in the heat of the moment that stuff happens.”
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
So, when Evans caught what ended up being the final touchdown pass of Brady’s career — a gorgeous, 50-yard deep ball down the right sideline over the top of Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey — and immediately tossed the ball into the stands, he didn’t necessarily realize what, exactly, he was doing. Still, he doesn’t think Brady will mind.
“That one is unpredictable,” Evans said. “I didn’t know he was going to retire. I’m thinking we might have to throw another touchdown. I’m sure he doesn’t care about that ball in a losing effort.”
Evans previously tossed the ball from Brady’s 600th career touchdown pass into the stands as well, and the Bucs eventually had to work out a trade with the recipient. As our Jeff Kerr noted last week, the last-touchdown ball is still at large. It remains to be seen whether a similar trade is in the works.