February 1, 2021
By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans knows how to play the waiting game.
Drafted by the Bucs in the first round in 2014, Evans endured losing seasons for five of his seven years in the league despite putting up 1,000 or more receiving yards every season.
Now, with a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday’s Super Bowl LV in front of a hometown crowd in his first post-season, he admits the Bucs’ hard-earned good fortune is a lot to wrap his head around.
“It’s unbelievable. It hasn’t really hit me yet, what I’m going to feel,” the three-time Pro Bowler told reporters on Monday. “There’s been a lot of downs, but now we’re up and we’re going to try to stay going up as long as we’re playing.”
Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, who joined the Bucs this year after two decades with the New England Patriots, is a big part of that turnaround.
The 43-year-old helped propel the six-foot, five-inch Evans to another strong campaign, with 1,006 regular-season receiving yards – the 18th most in the league – and 13 touchdowns.
That was followed by a productive post-season of three straight wins on the road, as Brady spread the love between a cohort of reliable pass catchers that includes tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Antonio Brown.
The Bucs will be vying for their second Super Bowl title against the reigning champion Chiefs, the favorites to win and upset the charmed season for which Evans, 27, has waited.
“It’s been an unbelievable run this year,” he said. “It was all worth it and, you know, hopefully we get the job done Sunday and then stay on this track.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)