Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Mike Evans was catching passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Friday’s practice, bringing some optimism he may suit up for Sunday’s showdown against the New Orleans Saints. Evans has been a non-participant in practice the last two days with a hamstring injury, leaving his status for Sunday’s game in serious question.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians revealed Evans was out on the practice field Friday, but erred on the side of caution with his No. 1 wide receiver. 

“He did some individual stuff today,” Arians said. “We’ll see if he’s sore tomorrow, but he’ll probably be a game-time decision.”

Arians also said he didn’t believe the hamstring injury was the same one that limited Evans last season, causing him to miss three games. Evans still finished with 67 catches for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns, finishing with 17.3 yards per catch. 

The Buccaneers will be dealt a huge blow if Evans can’t play. Evans eclipsed 1,000-plus receiving yards in each of his first six NFL seasons, joining Randy Moss as the only players in league history to accomplish the feat. His 15.7 yards per catch is third among active players with a minimum of 250 receptions. Evans has averaged 17.52 yards per catch in the NFL, first among all players that have recorded 100-plus catches. His 48 touchdown catches are the third most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014. 

Evans is the Buccaneers’ all-time leader in receptions (462), yards (7,260), receiving touchdowns (48), multi-touchdown games (9), 100-yard receiving games (24), and 150-yard receiving games (9). If the Buccaneers top wideout can’t go, Tampa still has Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller as the starting receivers. The Buccaneers also could run a significant package of “12” and “13” personnel with tight ends O.J. Howard, Rob Gronkowski, and Cameron Brate to compensate the absence of Evans. 

Tampa Bay has options in case Evans is unable to play, but it could use all its offensive weapons to beat a high-powered team like that Saints and make a statement in the NFC South. 

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