It’s painfully unclear what the future holds for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is why moments like Sunday need to be cherished while we can.
Not only are we unsure of how the rest of the season will play out for the Bucs, but the man at the center of everything might not be here next year. Mike Evans is a free agent at the end of the season and there hasn’t been any indication that he’ll be back. Everyone seems to want the same thing, but that didn’t help a deal get done before the season and now every bit of success he has is tinged with the potential heartbreak that he’s embarking on a farewell tour.
That’s a bridge we’ll cross in March, but it makes games like he had in Week 13 even more special. It seems like a sure thing that he’ll get a statute outside Raymond James Stadium one day, but he continues to put together a solid case that he’ll also get a bust in Canton.
Evans went over 1,000 yards for the tenth time in his career on Sunday, and is now just two seasons shy of passing Jerry Rice for the all-time record. This year more than any the conversation about his Hall of Fame candidacy is starting to grow on a national stage, and Bucs fans continue to champion him for all he’s done.
It’s not just fans who think Mike Evans is a Hall of Famer, it’s his teammates as well and they’re not afraid to shout it out loud.
Antoine Winfield Jr crashes Mike Evans’ postgame interview: “He’s a legend!”
While being interviewed on the field after his massive game by Tiffany Blackmon, Evans was interrupted by Antoine Winfield Jr who screamed into the camera what Bucs fans everywhere have been saying all season long.
“He’s a legend,” Winfield yelled as he jumped onto Evans’ back. “He’s a Hall of Famer!”
It’s already imposisble to not love Winfield, and stuff like this only solidifies his own legacy with the Bucs. Things have been rough recently in Tampa Bay but Winfield has been a constant, consistently performing at a high level and often single-handily keeping the team in the a game.
Remember the game against Atlanta that Winfield was the sole reason the Bucs were even in it at the end? How about his performance against the Vikings in Week 1, or his game in New Orleans where he changed things with a huge turnover.
He has a knack for making huge plays that break the Saints. Winfield also seems to be at the center of almost everything good that happened defensively for the Bucs, and he’s more than proven his worth as a leader on the team.
This offseason the Bucs will face some tough questions about who will be part of the future, but the only discussion about Winfield should be how much the team is paying him to ensure he stays in Tampa Bay.