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Mike Evans' one-game suspension upheld, out vs. Jets

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Saints coach Sean Payton insisted that Mike Evans should have been ejected for his Sunday antics.

That didn't happen, but the NFL isn't done with the Buccaneers wide receiver.

The league announced Monday that Evans has been suspended one game without pay for violating unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness rules during Sunday's 30-10 loss to New Orleans.

The Pro Bowl wideout appealed the ruling but it was upheld by appeals officer James Thrash, the NFL announced on Tuesday.

"I want to sincerely apologize for my actions during Sunday's game. I saw my quarterback getting shoved and I let my emotions get the better of me," Evans released in a statement after the ruling. "My response was not appropriate and not a true indication of who I am as a player and a person. I take pride in playing the game the right way and I realize it was unprofessional and hurt my team."

Evans was caught on camera blasting Saints rookie defensive back Marshon Lattimore to the turf during the third quarter. This came after Lattimore fell into a jawing session with Bucs players along the sideline, including a banged-up Jameis Winston, who prodded Lattimore.

The defensive back spun around and shoved Winston, prompting Evans to fly in from yards away to tackle Lattimore from behind.

Jon Runyan, NFL vice president of football operations, penned a letter to Evans that laid out the ruling, writing: "During the third quarter, after a play had ended, you struck an unsuspecting opponent in the back, knocking him to the ground. Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

"If there's not an ejection in that situation," Payton said after the game, "then I don't know when there's supposed to be an ejection."

As for Evans, the suspension will cost him Sunday's tilt with the Jets, an affair now set to pit New York passer Josh McCown against former Gang Green quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will start in relief of the injured Winston.

Pulling Evans out of the mix won't make life any easier for a Bucs team -- at 2-6 -- that looms as one of the worst squads in the NFC.

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