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Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans suspended for role in fracas

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (center) shoves Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore during the second half of the Buccaneers' win Sunday.Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans has been suspended for one game for his “aggressive conduct” in a scuffle that resulted in him and New Orleans cornerback Marshon Lattimore being ejected from the Buccaneers-Saints game.

Evans’s suspension is without pay and would keep him out of the Buccaneers’ home game this Sunday against the Packers, barring a successful appeal of the penalty.

The NFL said Monday that Evans violated unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct rules by knocking Lattimore to the ground when the Buccaneers star intervened in a confrontation that initially involved Lattimore and Bucs teammates Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette.

The sequence began with Brady jawing at Lattimore after throwing an incomplete pass. When the Saints cornerback responded verbally, Fournette shoved him. Lattimore returned the shove, at which point Evans sprinted over and sent Lattimore sprawling with a two-handed push, setting off a fracas between the teams.

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Evans and Lattimore were ejected from the game, which ended with Tampa Bay on top, 20-10.

“After a play had ended, you were walking toward your sidelines. When you noticed your teammates engaged in a confrontation with Saints’ players, you ran toward that area on the field and violently threw your body into and struck an unsuspecting opponent who was part of that confrontation,” league vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter informing Evans of the discipline.

“You knocked your opponent to the ground and a melee ensued involving players from both teams,” the letter said. “Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury to your opponent and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”

It’s not the first suspension of Evans’s career. The other, a one-game ban in 2017, also involved Evans knocking Lattimore to the ground during a Bucs-Saints matchup at the Superdome.

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The suspension figures to leave the Bucs shorthanded at receiver against the Packers, especially considering Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) are nursing injuries that kept them from playing last week.

Chiefs’ Gay suspended for four games

Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating its personal conduct policy.

Gay was arrested in January in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kan., and charged with misdemeanor criminal property of damage of less than $1,000. Gay’s representative, Maxx Lepselter, said at the time that Gay broke a vacuum that belonged to the mother of his son during an argument in which nobody was harmed.

Gay agreed to a diversion program in June to resolve the criminal case.

There was no appeal of the penalty, so Gay will miss Sunday’s game in Indianapolis along with games against Tampa Bay, Las Vegas, and Buffalo.

NFL rules prohibit him from interacting with the team during the first two weeks.

The Chiefs, who parted with veteran Anthony Hitchens after last season, are counting heavily on Gay to help solidify the linebacker spot alongside second-year pro Nick Bolton. Gay started their first two games against the Cardinals and Chargers and is tied for second on the team in tackles, tackles for loss, and passes defended.

Vegas police investigate QB hit

Police in Las Vegas said Monday they’re investigating allegations that a fan in the stands struck Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray amid celebrations of Arizona’s 29-23 overtime victory over the Raiders.

Murray was high-fiving front-row spectators at Allegiant Stadium following Byron Murphy Jr.’s game-ending fumble return Sunday when a man appeared to reach out and smack Murray in the face with an open hand.

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Video showed Murray appear stunned, but not injured, then attempt to identify the attacker in the mostly happy crowd.

Murray celebrates with fans after Sunday's game. Las Vegas police said they're investigating allegations that a fan in the stands attacked a Murray after Arizona's win.David Becker/Associated Press

Officer Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas police spokesman, confirmed that a battery complaint was made about 6:30 p.m. at the stadium. The report was not immediately available. Hadfield did not name Murray as the reporting person, but confirmed the allegation was that “a spectator at the stadium struck a professional football player.”

Browns’ Clowney sidelined

Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will miss Thursday night’s game against the Steelers after injuring his right ankle during Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Jets.

Clowney was hurt in the third quarter while chasing Jets quarterback Joe Flacco. Clowney, who had a strip sack in the first half, struggled to get to the sideline before being evaluated in the medical tent.

Clowney did not return and the Browns blew a 13-point lead in the final two minutes to lose their home opener. He left FirstEnergy Stadium in a walking boot.

Without Clowney, the Browns were forced to play rookies Isaiah Thomas and Alex Wright more, and they didn’t have their usual depth in the final minutes as they tried to hold off the Jets.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski did not offer any specifics about Clowney’s injury or its severity. The three-time Pro Bowler is in his second season with Cleveland, which re-signed him to a one-year deal in May after he played well in 2021.

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Stefanski said defensive end Chase Winovich (hamstring) and tight end Jesse James (biceps) also will miss Thursday’s game.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett injured his ankle in the fourth quarter but finished Sunday’s game. Stefanski said Brissett is not on the injury report.

Surgery for QB Lance

Trey Lance underwent season-ending surgery on his broken right ankle Monday, leaving the 49ers to go ahead with the rest of the 2022 season with former starter Jimmy Garoppolo back in the helm.

Lance was hurt in the first quarter of San Francisco’s 27-7 win over the Seahawks on Sunday when he kept the ball on a run play up the middle.

The Niners said Lance had surgery Monday to repair a broken bone and ligament disruption. Team physician Tim McAdams said he’s confident Lance will recover completely in time for a full return next season.

“I don’t want to downplay what happened to Trey, because we really do feel for him, but this is why you buy insurance,’’ fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “You don’t want to have to use it, but Jimmy was kind of our insurance policy.”

Instead of the Lance injury derailing a season for a team that believes it can contend for the Super Bowl, it just puts the Niners back where they were last year when Garoppolo helped them get to the NFC title game with Lance as the backup.

Garoppolo made $350,000 in bonuses Sunday for playing at least 25 percent of the snaps and the Niners winning the game.

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Garoppolo is back under center for the Niners.Tony Avelar/Associated Press

“It definitely turns out to be a very smart move for us,’’ defensive end Nick Bosa said. ‘’The fact that we have a quarterback who’s done so much for this organization already and has all the experience that he has, and the fact that we get him back, is very big for our team. We’re excited for him, but obviously we’re hurting for Trey.”

Garoppolo threw a 38-yard TD pass to Ross Dwelley on his first full drive and finished 12 for 21 for 154 yards with no turnovers.

Bears suffer letdown

The Bears were feeling good about themselves following a surprising, rain-soaked victory over the 49ers at Soldier Field to start coach Matt Eberflus’s first season.

Leave it to Aaron Rodgers and the rival Packers to bring them down a peg, this time 27-10 at Lambeau Field on Sunday night. The Bears will try to bounce back Sunday when they host Lovie Smith and the Texans.

Rodgers gave them headaches, as usual, throwing for 234 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers improved to 24-5 in games he has started against Chicago. The Bears couldn’t stop Aaron Jones, who went off for 132 yards and a rushing touchdown. He also caught a scoring pass.

Chicago at least got its ground game going. But when it came to passing, well, it was a different story. Quarterback Justin Fields had another difficult time, and receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet were nonfactors.

Center of attention in Washington

Commanders starting center Chase Roullier is expected to go on injured reserve for the short term with a right leg injury, meaning he will miss at least the next four games. Wes Schweitzer is next to fill in there, though he missed the Lions game with a hamstring injury. Backup center Tyler Larson remains on the physically unable to perform list, so waiver pickup Wes Martin would be behind Schweitzer on the depth chart . . . Rams guard Tremayne Anchrum broke his ankle on the first play of his first NFL start. He stayed in the game for another snap, but he will require surgery and be out for the rest of the season