TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Demonstrates Excellence on The Field
Mike Evans is one of only two players in NFL history to start his career with six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and if 2020 goes according to plan, he'll pass Randy Moss as the lone player to achieve the feat in his first seven. The three-time Pro Bowler is the youngest receiver in NFL history to 7,000 career receiving yards (26 years, 81 days) and is the Buccaneers franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He also holds the franchise record for most receiving yards (1,524) and touchdowns (12 – twice) in a season. Amongst the star-studded 2014 draft class that also featured wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Davante Adams, Jarvis Landry, Brandin Cooks and Sammy Watkins, Evans ranks first in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and is tied for first in 100-yard performances. One word to describe Evans? Excellent.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year
Since entering the league in 2016, Mike Evans has been a servant leader to the communities of Tampa Bay and his hometown of Galveston, Texas – something that remained unchanged in 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the nation, Evans jumped into action, committing $100,000 from the Mike Evans Family Foundation to support United Way Suncoast and the Galveston community to aid the relief efforts. He continued his support by participating in the Twitch Steam Aid, a 12-hour gaming event that raised more than $2.7 million for the World Health Organization.
In May, Mike formed a special bond with Marco Solis, a patient at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Marco, a 23-year-old battling metastatic colorectal cancer, connected with him over Zoom while he was hospitalized and the two immediately bonded – the wide receiver was particularly touched by Marco's positivity despite having received the news just days earlier that his cancer was terminal. Mike sent a care package to Marco, including an unpublicized gift of $10,000 to help the family with their financial burdens, though sadly, Marco passed away in July. When learning the news, Mike covered the expenses for Marco's funeral and the entire family wore #13 Buccaneers t-shirts at the service in honor of the bond that Mike & Marco formed. In Week 6, Evans hosted the family at the Buccaneers-Packers game to greet them in person for the first time, during which he took the field during warm-ups in specially-designed cleats honoring Marco and the positivity that he exhibited in his final months battling the disease.
Mike has embraced the virtual nature of giving back in 2020, surprising one of four winners of the inaugural Buccaneers Girls In Football Scholarships with a special Zoom call to congratulate the recipient for paving the way for other girls. With the elections being a focal point of the league's social justice efforts, Evans committed to speaking out on the importance of voting, helping the team launch BUCSVOTE, a public service campaign that promoted voter registration and participation. Through a digital ad, video messages and a radio announcement, Evans – who acknowledged he did not vote in the 2016 election – encouraged fans to participate in this year's process, reaffirming that in 2020, he is a voter. As this year rolls forward, his community outreach will carry on as well, and participation through team initiatives and the Mike Evans Family Foundation will remain constant.
Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past
Through steady participation in team programs, league initiatives and the launch of the Mike Evans Family Foundation, #13 has been committed to giving back every year. Annually, he and his wife host the Catch for Christmas, a week of events that raise money for victims of domestic violence, support local children and help fund college scholarships for students in need. One memorable event took place in 2018, when a group of youth football players were invited to the Buccaneers' training facility. Surprising the kids in the lobby were Evans and his wife, Ashli, who shocked each student with a stack of presents– including a new gaming console package – as a reward for earning good grades.
Last year, Mike's foundation hosted an inaugural golf tournament where he presented a check for $25,000 to fund need-based scholarships for students at the University of South Florida. To further his foundation's mission of serving students from low-income families, Evans also set up a $40,000 endowment fund at his alma mater, Texas A&M. As has become evident over the years, lending support to those in need isn't just a trend for Evans – it's the norm. He raised money for victims of the Jacksonville Landing shooting; covered funeral costs for a Florida family that received just $4 from the state following a wrongful death suit; provided financial support for a former classmate who suffered an accidental gunshot wound, and has begun covering legal fees of individuals who are incarcerated for minor crimes, like traffic citations, because they cannot afford to pay them. Evans got involved in that initiative after a meeting with the NFL Player's Coalition and former NFL star Anquan Boldin; the money towards this effort comes directly out of his own pocket.
Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back
Mike Evans passion for paying it forward, particularly for those facing challenging circumstances, stems from his childhood. His mother was a victim of domestic violence from his father, who was murdered by his mom's brother when Evans was just nine years old. Mike attributes his ability to overcome a childhood filled with extreme adversity to the support he and his family received growing up.
"I just wanted to help, ever since I was a kid," Evans said. "I've always been a giving person. That comes from my mom, and I was blessed with people to help me out. A lot of people helped me, and my mom had people helping her – so, some people just need an extra push in life and now I want to be the one to give that to them. In a way, helping others, it's like paying those people back. I want to give off that positive energy."
Mike isn't alone in his efforts. His wife, Ashli, is right by his side – she loves interacting with kids and helping others as much as he does. They regularly visit community centers together and have met with victims of domestic violence at women's shelters both in Tampa and in Texas. "It means a lot," Evans said of his wife's support. "She has as much joy in it; I guess that's why were so compatible. We both have interest in helping others. She's learned a lot about foundations and is a huge part of it." The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are proud to nominate Mike Evans as their Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee.