Did Bruce Arians Make Mike Evans His Shooter? Former Tampa Bay Head Coach Under Investigation For Sending Evans To “Deebo” Marshon Lattimore?

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Bruce Arians is still getting used to life in the executive suites, and there is one thing he can’t get there that is prevalent on the field: violence. The beautifully violent ballet that is professional football was taken out of his command when he became the special adviser to the general manager of the Tampa Bay Bucs. However, that didn’t stop him from appearing to bark an order to Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans which sent him hurtling toward New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

Now the NFL is investigating to see if Arians gave a directive that resulted in the brawl between members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints at the Superdome during their Week 2 matchup on Sunday.

Evans believed that Lattimore punched Bucs running back Leonard Fournette in the face, pushing his quarterback Tom Brady.

“He punched my teammate in the face,” Evans said postgame. “I just pushed him to the ground. I just was trying to have my teammate’s back. All I seen was he punched somebody in the face. I was like, ‘I ain’t going to let that happen.'”

However, the league feels that the fight wouldn’t have escalated if Evans didn’t get involved and, after reviewing the actions of other players, suspended Evans for violating unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules. He won’t be eligible to return until after a big game, the Bucs’ Week 3 home opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Lattimore was ejected with no suspension or fine.

“After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Evans.

“You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams. Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”

What about Arians, who chose not to be in the booth or the box but instead on the field? There are a limited number of bench passes each team has for staff, and Arians still has one of them.

“He’s always upstairs but they didn’t have a box to give us this game,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said. “So everybody that was upstairs were downstairs.”

Reports are that the Bucs had booth No. 6 on the 700 level of the stadium for the team’s coaches, and ownership had suite 403 along with 18 press box seats for the Bucs staff.

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Arians wanted to be on the field, and between jawing off at the refs and Lattimore a short time earlier to his potential complicity in the incident, Evans is facing the punishment. Although an appeal is imminent, the League will consider Evans’ previous history of on-field issues.

However, Arians had his issues in the past, like when he was fined $50,000 for contacting Tampa Bay safety Andrew Adams during the team’s wild-card win over the Eagles in January. In football, the goal is always to protect the quarterback. When that gets complicated all involved should be culpable.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.