Below is a full transcript of new Bucs receiver Mike Evans’ press conference from Friday at One Buc Place.
(Opening statements)Jason Licht: “Good morning everybody, thanks for being here. There’s been a lot of exciting days here, sitting here at this table, and today’s no different. We were fired up before the draft, we’re ecstatic now and we still have a couple more days to go. Today, right now, it’s about Mike. We want to thank him and [girlfriend] Ashli for being here, he’s had a long night, I don’t know if he’s slept at all, but we’re extremely, extremely happy with the outcome of last night’s draft and we’re happy for him to be here.” Mike Evans: “I’m very excited to be in Tampa. If you watched the draft last night you saw me get emotional, kind of crying like a little baby. I didn’t expect to do that, but realizing my dreams coming true, it finally hit me. I’m just really happy to be a Buc; the city is nice, great state, I feel my style of play fits well here and it’s my dreams coming true. I’m going to work my hardest to be the best player I can be and the best teammate I can be and just help the team win games.” (On his emotions after he his name was called)ME: “I got the call, it sunk in but not as much and then when they called my name, I had my daughter in my hand at the time, I guess I just had been holding it in the whole time, not trying to show any emotion; it just hit me, I can’t explain it, came out of nowhere, trying to – it’s kind of embarrassing to me, maybe not to some people but it’s embarrassing to me. I try to be a tough guy you can say, but it was a great moment and realizing my family – I get to take care of my family now and just do what I love.” (On how his mom and daughter changed his life)ME: “My mother, people thought she was my big sister when she used to drop me off at school. She had me at 14 years old and just watching her struggle, doing everything she did for us, me, my brother and my sister, she did everything she could do so we can have whatever we wanted. I applaud her for that and I’ll always be indebted to her and I want to give her the world. My daughter, I was always on the field, it’s extra motivation. Draft night was the second best night of my life, after she was born. She’s just so fun to be around; I want her to grow up better than I did, so I’m going to use that as motivation on the field and off the field. I’m just happy to be a Buc.” (On what the last 24 hours have been like)ME: “It’s been hectic. I haven’t slept yet, in the past 24 hours, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Visited a hospital yesterday, they walked us around, did a lot of stuff before the draft and the draft started, got the call, did a whole bunch of interviews after that and that’s pretty much it. I flew in this morning, but the process leading up to this day has been very long. I thought at a point it would never get here; all my hard work is paying off and I’m living out my dream.” (On if he had a sense the team was interested in him after his pro day)ME: “A little, I met with [wide receivers coach Andrew] Hayes-Stoker, met with them at the Combine, I got a good vibe from Coach Smith. He’s a great coach, I’m glad I get to play for him.” (On how much his upbringing motivates him on the field)ME: “It motivates me a lot. My father passed away when I was nine years old and he was big on sports, he wanted me to just play sports. When I was a kid I liked playing sports, but when he died I started playing everything with an edge about me because I wanted him to be proud of me. He’s up looking down on me now and I just used that as motivation, my father.” (On if he became the man of the house after his father passed)ME: “You can say that. My brother’s dad was around a couple of years after my father passed, but I had to look out for my brother and sister, and my mom even more.” (On if wanted to be an NBA star or an NFL star)ME: “I wanted to be both.” (On how his basketball background helps him in football)ME: “It helps a lot, when you see me go up for catches I’m treating it like a rebound, boxing guys out using my God-given talent, using my big body to box guys out for catches, tough catches and learning how to get in position. The transition was easy because I have a lot of great coaches and a lot of great people around me to help me get here. The transition was easier than it looks . I’m just very blessed.” (On an off-the-field childhood memory)ME: “I think we took a vacation my sophomore year and we never had the money to do that. A hurricane hit my city and we got insurance money. My mom always talked about going on vacation so we went to the Dominican Republic and we had a great time, a great family time.” (On playing for the same high school coach as tackle Anthony Collins)ME: “He told me about him but I haven’t really looked into it. My 11th grade year he came and talked to me and said we had a player at I don’t know what school it was, he was a lineman I believe, he just told me about his story and then it kind of intrigued me a little bit, still didn’t want to come out and then I came out the year after and it worked out for me. Yeah, he’s a great guy.” (On playing with wide receiver Vincent Jackson)ME: “I was eager to come to Tampa Bay; I really wanted Tampa Bay to pick me. I was praying they wouldn’t pass on me, but, Vincent Jackson, it will be great playing with him. I’ve heard so many things about him already. A lot of guys tell me he’s a great person. His receivers coach at San Diego, James Lofton, who I was working with in San Diego, told me he’s a great guy and that will be a good fit to go to Tampa Bay and learn from him. I’m just ready to learn from him and hopefully we can do some great things together.” (On what made Tampa Bay high on his list)ME: “The conference is one of the best conferences in the league. Playing alongside Vincent Jackson I feel that we can have a lot of success, Josh McCown at the helm, a good running back, great defense, I felt like I fit perfect in this system. It’s a physical team and I think I fit that.” (On how playing with Johnny Manziel affected his game)ME: “Made me keep my head on a swivel, never knowing where he’s going to go. He’s a great player, he made me better, I made him better, we had a great relationship, one of my best friends, and it was great playing with him.” (On the transition from playing with Manziel to a more traditional quarterback)ME: “I don’t think it will be different; I think I’ll transition fine. Maybe they don’t run as much so maybe more balls to go around, but I think it’ll be just fine.” (On working with Tampa Bay head strength and conditioning coach Dave Kennedy who served in the same position at Texas A&M)ME: “It’s great, I didn’t even know he was here until last night. My first year coming in I was 205 pounds and then he got me to 235 by the end of the year. It was good weight though. He’s a great strength coach and I’m happy to be working with him again.” (On what he learned from working with James Lofton)ME: “He’s a great dude, he taught me about the finer points of route running, getting in and out of my breaks, learning to get into a [defensive back] blind spot, all of those good things but he taught me what I needed to do to have success in this league and he just taught me about being a man. He’s teaching me how to be a great man.” (On finding his optimal playing weight)ME: “It helped a lot. Your playing weight, you play too heavy and that can cause injuries. I think that’s why my freshman year I strained my hamstring, I wasn’t watching my weight as well. This past year I honed it in and I was playing at 230–235 range and I kept it there. It’s a big factor, you never know how fast you can play until you hit your optimal weight.” (On the tips Lofton to be successful)ME: “Like I said it’s about being a great person and being a great teammate, nobody wants to be around – nobody wants to play with somebody they can’t be around off the field. He was just telling me about that and just telling me that you have to be tough; he said that I wouldn’t have a problem with that. He thought I was tough already but he said I’ll be fine.” (On if trash talks when playing)ME: “Yeah, I talk a little smack.” (On if surviving a serious car crash in 2013)ME: “I’m blessed, it’s all God’s doing. When I was ejected, that’s what I did immediately: I thanked God because nothing was broken, just an ear split in half, that’s it, just love taps, there was nothing too major. I just thanked God right away nothing was broken and I got to play football that year.” (On if he could’ve dreamed of this moment)ME: “It comes down to God again, he’s great. I never thought I would come from Galveston, Texas, where I come from it’s hard to make it out of there and I did it, I had a lot of help though, God’s blessed me with a lot great people around me and I’m just blessed.” (On what he brings to the team)ME: “I’m Mike Evans, I’m a do anything it takes to win, I’m going to get involved in the run game, I’m going to be physical, I’m going to go up and the 50-50 balls, just going to be a great teammate and try and bring leadership.” (On why Tampa Bay didn’t bring Evans in for a visit)Lovie Smith: “We didn’t feel like we did need to, but I have a few ties in Texas, I think I’ve talked to you about that. We had a chance to talk to a lot of people, Dave Kennedy on the staff, we felt like we knew Mike. We watched him at the Combine, from afar. Even the [Texas] A&M visit, we all went down there, we took a big group down there, but we snuck out fairly early, I felt like we had all the information that we needed to know. Jason and his crew did a great job, didn’t feel like we needed any more information. We loved Mike from the start and just couldn’t believe, we were high-fiving when we got a chance to take him.” (On if it was hard to hide Tampa Bay’s interest)LS: “It has to be that way, correct?” (On what he thinks he has to prove wrong)ME: “I think there are people criticizing me on speed and route running maybe and that I’ve only been playing football for the past four years. I’m just going to improve on my game, try and fight for a starting job right away. I’ve been working on my route running; speed, I’ll let people see if I get caught or anything like that, but I don’t think I have to prove too many people wrong.” (On if the number 13 has any significance to him)ME: “There’s no story to it, that was just the best number available. I was number 82 my redshirt-freshman year and I was looking for a new number and wanted to get number five, my high school number, it wasn’t available so 13 was available and I took that. I will be wearing 13.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
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