Mike Evans, NFL Address Controversial Incident With Referee
By Jason Hall
October 25, 2022
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans and the NFL have both denied that he was requested an autograph by a referee after Sunday's (October 23) loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Video captured after the game showed side judge Jeff Lamberth calling Evans' name before the All-Pro wide receiver wrote something on a card given to him by line judge Tripp Sutter and handed it back to Lamberth.
Evans told Buccaneers senior writer and editor Scott Smith that his interaction with the two officials was about golf and that he didn't sign an autograph, which would be a violation of league rules.
The NFL also issued a statement denying Evans gave the referee an autograph.
"After speaking with the individuals involved, we have confirmed that the postgame interaction between [side judge] Jeff Lamberth, [line judge] Tripp Sutter, and Mike Evans did not involve a request by the game officials for an autograph," the statement read. "Both Lamberth and Sutter have been reminded of the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety when interacting with players, coaches, and club staff on gameday -- including during the pregame and postgame time periods."
Mike Evans confirms that he was NOT signing an autograph for a ref on Sunday. Says the conversation was about golf.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) October 25, 2022
I didn’t know refs get autographs after the game. pic.twitter.com/4IgUHIiAgz— Sheena Quick (@Sheena_Marie3) October 23, 2022
NFL Network Tom Pelissero reports that Evans gave Lamberth -- a fellow Texas A&M alum -- his "phone number to pass it along to a golf pro to give Evans lessons," which he wrote on paper borrowed from Sutter.
Full story: #Bucs WR Mike Evans and side judge Jeff Lamberth both went to Texas A&M, and Lamberth was getting Evans’ phone number to pass it along to a golf pro to give Evans lessons, per sources. Lamberth didn’t have paper, so he borrowed it from another official.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 25, 2022
Evans finished Sunday's game with nine receptions for 96 yards, having dropped an open would-be touchdown pass during the Buccaneers' first offensive drive.
Tampa Bay has lost its last two consecutive games, both of which came to teams with sub-.500 records.