Tom Brady’s retirement in February left the NFL world in the dark. For starters, the Buccaneers lost its quarterback. The league lost its knight in shining armor. And wide receiver Mike Evans lost the solid connection to the man most responsible for his Super Bowl LV ring.
But Brady’s retirement lasted just 40 days. For Evans, a series of cryptic texts from the Canton-bound QB spoiled the surprise. Before news broke of TB12’s quick change-of-heart, the quarterback sent a link to Evans – an article about the auction of the final ball Brady threw for a touchdown. Next populated a text reading, “there’s more touchdowns in our future.”
Evans tells KPRC-TV in a sit-down interview that the wide receiver made the assumption the 44-year-old was trolling. Not responding to the messages, Evans – under the impression Brady was simply having fun at the receiver’s expense – couldn’t believe the news when the QB announced he had unfinished business.
Tampa Bay’s season unceremoniously ended in shocking defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams. Trailing 14 points with under four minutes remaining and having Tom Brady on your side makes the deficit unimaginably less daunting.
Brady hit Evans for a 55-yard strike, closing it to one score with 3:20 showing on the clock. On the ensuing drive, Los Angeles failed to obtain a first down, potentially punting away the lead before the two-minute warning. A Leonard Fournette fourth down dash with 46 seconds on the clock tied the game at 27 apiece.
However, a miraculous throw-and-catch followed by a clutch field goal kick sent Brady spiraling toward the next stage. With Evans wondering what would happen next, and the eventual retirement of head coach Bruce Arians, Brady’s return provides the squad with a tremendous boost of stability for 2022.
Mike Evans’ Renewed Role In New-Look Tampa Bay Offense
Brady’s weaponry in Tampa allows the quarterback to flourish with more ease than in New England. With the Patriots, the 44-year-old would latch to one or two quality receivers, making them better in the process. TB12’s arrival to Tampa brought tight end Rob Gronkowski along, but it meant acquiring an already established receiving corps.
But for the upcoming season, Mike Evans towers over the remaining healthy talent Brady once had in Florida. Chris Godwin awaits medical clearance before returning from a torn ACL. Gronkowski’s recent retirement puts more defensive attention on backup Cameron Brate. But this puts the onus on Evans to produce sky-scraping numbers, allowing the soon-to-retire Brady to flourish in what could be his final NFL season.