Mike Evans of Tampa Bay Buccaneers helps Jacksonville shooting victims

TAMPA, Fla. — There was trash talk, laughter and most of all — it was the first time top Madden player Shay Kivlen had smiled in over a week.

The 21-year-old known as “Young Kiv” took on Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in a Madden game Monday to raise funds for victims of the Jacksonville Madden shooting on Aug. 26.

Kivlen lost his best friend Elijah “Trueboy” Clayton, 22, and another close friend in Taylor “Spotmeplzzz” Robertson, 27, when David Katz, 24, of Maryland, opened fire at the “Madden NFL 19” qualifying tournament, fatally shooting both of them and wounding 11 others before taking his own life.

“It’s nice to see that even though there’s this bad seed, there’s all these good people in this world,” said Kivlen, who was at the tournament 20 minutes before and who was told by EA staffers he may have been one of Katz’s targets. “I just don’t want anyone to feel the pain that I have.”

Money raised from the event, which was livestreamed on Tiltify, will help both families, whom Kivlen has been in touch with, cover the costs of funeral expenses.

“It’s such a horrible thing that anyone should have to go through,” Kivlen said. “I just feel so bad for [Clayton and Robertson’s] families [and] the families of the people that are hurting.”

For Evans, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up, even if he was admittedly rusty at the game.

“It means a lot [to help]. To be able to be in this position … having a platform like this, I will never take it for granted. I always try to help as much as I can.”

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Mike Evans of Tampa Bay Buccaneers gives $11,000 to aid family of slain man

Mike Evans is staying true to his word to “help a lot of people” after signing an extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this year.

On Saturday, he donated $11,000 to the family of Gregory Hill, who was shot and killed by a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputy in 2014.

Hill’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and after a two-week trial in May, a jury ruled in favor of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, saying Hill was 99 percent responsible for his death and the department 1 percent responsible. The jury awarded the family $4, $1 for each of Hill’s three children and $1 for funeral expenses. The family, however, received just 4 cents (1 percent of the $4 award).

Evans asked how he could help the family in a tweet Saturday and was directed to a GoFundMe page that was created after the verdict. Evans’ donation helped push the total raised to nearly $100,000.

When the 24-year-old wide receiver signed his five-year, $82 million extension in March, Evans said of his charity plans, “It’s hard to put into words. With my actions you’ll see it.” Last year, Evans and his wife, Ashli, also founded the Mike Evans Family Foundation, which gives scholarships to high school graduates coming from low-income situations and provides help to women and their families who are victims of domestic violence.

Gregory Hill was 30 when he was shot and killed by an officer responding to a complaint about loud music in 2014. After officers knocked on his garage and front doors, Hill opened his garage door. He was shot when he lowered the garage door and police alleged that Hill pointed a gun at the deputies. An unloaded gun was found in his pocket and tests revealed that his blood alcohol content was 0.40.

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Mike Evans of Tampa Bay Buccaneers signs 5-year extension

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have locked up one of the most critical pieces of their offense by signing wide receiver Mike Evans to a new multiyear deal.

It is a five-year, $82.5 million extension that includes $55 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. By comparison, DeAndre Hopkins‘ deal is for five years and $81 million, with $49 million guaranteed.

Evans expressed his gratitude on Instagram. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information, Evans’ guaranteed $55 million is most among current wide receivers by $6 million.

Evans, 24, joined Randy Moss and Cincinnati Bengals’ A.J. Green this past year as the only wide receivers in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in each of their four seasons. The seventh-overall draft pick in 2014, Evans’ 4,579 receiving yards are already third-most in franchise history, while his 32 touchdowns are second-most in team history, the most of any Bucs receiver and sixth-most of any receiver since 2014. He’s also been one of the most durable receivers in the league, missing just three games in four seasons.

One of those games came as the result of a one-game suspension in 2017, when Evans launched himself into the back of New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore after Lattimore got into a sideline altercation with Winston in Week 9. Evans immediately showed remorse afterwards, calling his own behavior “childish” and “malicious.” Evans also had a controversial moment in 2016, when he sat during the National Anthem in protest of President Donald Trump’s election during the Bucs’ annual Salute to Service game.

Over the past four years — including three with Jameis Winston — Evans has accounted for nearly 21 percent of the Bucs’ total offense in terms of yardage, 24 percent of its touchdowns and nearly 30 percent of its passing yards. He set the franchise’s single-season touchdown catch record with 12 as a rookie in 2014 and matched that number again in 2016.

Evans has been on the receiving end of some of the Bucs’ biggest offensive plays in recent memory, a spinning one-handed catch in which he managed to hang onto the ball despite a jarring hit from Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal as he was flying out of bounds. There was also “The Scramble” that year, where Winston narrowly avoided a safety, heaving it 39 yards downfield to Evans, who made a back-breaking catch.

In addition to Evans’ efforts on the field, he launched the Mike Evans Family Foundation with his wife Ashli in the fall of 2017, with the goal of serving underprivileged youth through college scholarships and helping victims of domestic violence.

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