After three days of playing around on the football field (read: mandatory mini-camp), players got together to support one of their own this week for the Mike Evans Family Foundation. Wide receiver Mike Evans held his annual Celebrity Bowling Classic and his Mike Evans Family Foundation Golf Tournament on Thursday and Friday, respectively, raising over $50,000 to help empower youth, encourage education and take a stand against domestic violence.
On Thursday night, 15 teammates and coaches showed up for Evans' bowling tournament, including nine of the 10 other wide receivers on the roster besides the man himself. Tight ends O.J. Howard, Cam Brate and Tanner Hudson were also there, as well as quarterback Ryan Griffin and offensive tackle Donovan Smith, who never passes up a chance to bowl. The bevvy of support didn't go unnoticed by Evans.
"They always got my back and my teammates have always looked out for me whenever I do my foundation events and are trying to pay it forward," he said. "They always know to help, and you know it feels good."
That may have to do with the fact that Evans himself always returns the favor in addition to looking out for the community at large, both back in his hometown of Galveston, Texas and here in the Tampa area. He continued his efforts locally with his charity golf classic on Friday morning, where his teammates again showed up to support him.
"You gotta give back to Tampa because this is the city that you are playing in," said Evans. "There's a lot of kids out there that look up to us and the Buccaneers. And, you know it's our duty to give back and [show them] the way."
View pictures from the Mike Evans Family Foundation Celebrity Bowling Night & Golf Tournament.
Evans has been a shining example of that through all of his community efforts. In addition to being a force on the field, he's been one of the most front-facing Buccaneers in the community, always being the first to help. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Evans and his foundation donated a total of $100,000 to support relief efforts in both Galveston and Tampa. Most recently, the foundation is in the process of awarding $65,000 in scholarships for deserving students who want to pursue a college education.
"Anytime you want to further education is huge on us, it's a big part in the world today and as you see this is what he's touching," said Donovan Smith of the two-time Buccaneers Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. "He's doing it full force and it's right here in front of our eyes but Mike he's a stand up, dude. You know, obviously the community loves him, the Bucs community loves him, the fan base. I love him. You know, he's a great man, great father, great husband, great teammate, great player, all of those great things and it shows."
The Mike Evans Family Foundation was established in 2017 by Evans and his wife, Ashli. The key causes the foundation aims to help are very close to pair's hearts, having dealt with the effects of domestic violence firsthand during their childhoods. It's made the foundation a passion project for Ashli, who keeps everything running while Evans himself takes the field.
"I'm blessed to have wife like Ashli," Evans said. "Without her this foundation doesn't run. She's the boss behind the scenes. She makes sure that everything is taken care of, so I'm very fortunate to have her."
For more information about the work of the Mike Evans Family Foundation, or how you can donate and get involved, visit their website.