Lost in the chaos of this season is the loose thread of Mike Evans' future with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
When the season started, the biggest storyline around the Bucs involved Evans and the lack of a long term contract for the future Hall of Famer. Things initially looked like they were headed toward a happy conclusion, as Evans talked about his desire to retire with the Buccaneers after having spent his whole career in Tampa Bay -- a feeling that seems to be mutual.
Evans is underpaid, though, and security is something he said he's looking for on his next deal. It's something the Bucs were unwilling to give him before the season started, as talks between the two sides eroded to the point where Evans gave an ultimatum to either give him a new contract before Week 1 or risk losing him in free agency.
That deal never came, and now Evans is playing the season with the possibility that it's his last in Tampa Bay. For everything that has happened between the ultimatum and now, his situation has sort of taken a backseat, but it was brought back to the forefront before the Bucs game on Thursday night.
Mike Evans addresses contract situation with Buccaneers during TNF pregame show
In an interview that aired before Thursday night's game, Evans sat down with Taylor Rooks and spoke about his contract situation with the Bucs.
"When you've had your mind set on something it kind of gets to you a little. I'm just thinking 'alright I'm going to re-sign, I've been here a long time', and it doesn't happen like that," Evans said. "I have no ill-will towards the Buccaneers, I love it here. And there's still a possibility that I will finish my career here, but it was tough."
Evans was asked about his desire to spend his whole career in Tampa Bay but the lack of movement on a new contract this offseason.
"It was tough early on, but I just have to get over it," Evans said. "I just have to play some football, which is what I care about the most."
There wasn't a ton of new ground discovered in the interview, rather Evans seems to be dug in not settling for less just because that's what he's been offered. From the start, he's tried to make it clear who he is and isn't blaming for the situation, with most folks settling on ownership as the place he's pointing his finger at.
His comments to Rooks don't dispel this and seem to remain in line with the cryptic message his agent sent while delivering the contract ultimatum earlier this year.