Marshon Lattimore ‘looking forward to’ facing Mike Evans, who’ll reportedly apologize for hit
One week after Marshon Lattimore’s rematch with Julio Jones, he’s getting ready for his second chance against another premier receiver in the NFC South, Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans.
Evans, of course, made the first game personal when he hit Lattimore from behind, a cheap shot that drew a one-game suspension from the NFL.
Both Lattimore and Evans deflected any questions about the hit on Wednesday, although the Saints rookie did admit he highly anticipates the rematch.
“I’m not about to answer a hundred questions about him,” Lattimore said. “But yeah. I’m looking forward to it.”
Evans told ESPN on Thursday that he intends to apologize to Lattimore for the hit, reportedly calling the hit a “bull---- move” and something that happened in the heat of the moment.
Asked about both Lattimore and the hit on Wednesday, Evans chose to praise the Saints rookie, who helped hold him to just one catch for 13 yards in the first matchup between the two teams.
“He’s a great player, having a fantastic season,” Evans told reporters in Tampa. “The ball just finds him, a physical corner. Really good player, it’s going to be fun to play him again.”
Both Saints coach Sean Payton and Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter have characterized the incident as a one-time event in the days after the game.
After Evans was suspended, Payton said he thought the hit was out of character for Tampa Bay’s star receiver, and Koetter anticipates that the rematch between Lattimore and Evans will take place only when the ball is snapped on Sunday.
“That’s in the past,” Koetter said. “Mistakes were made, fines were handed out, there was a suspension. That was in the past. That was last game, and this is a different game.”
Evans, who has been widely recognized as one of the top receivers in the NFL, is having a down year by his standards. One season after racking up 96 catches for 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns, Evans has 66 catches for 946 yards and five touchdowns.
But he remains as talented as he’s ever been. One of the most physical wide receivers in the NFL at 6-foot-5, 231 pounds, Evans has struggled with offensive pass interference calls in recent weeks, but his power and length make him an effective target even when he’s covered.
“Great receiver, tall receiver,” Lattimore said. “He can go up and get the ball.”
Lattimore, a Pro Bowler as a rookie, welcomes the challenges of playing the NFL’s best receivers, and two sit on opponent’s rosters within the division.
He held up well against Evans the first time, and he’s looking to keep that going in Tampa Bay on Sunday.
“I’ve got Julio two times a year, I’ve got him two times a year,” Lattimore said. “It’s not just him. Every receiver I go against, I’m trying to win, no matter what.”