NFL says officials did not ask Buccaneers WR Mike Evans for autograph after concluding review of interaction

The NFL announced on Tuesday that the two game officials seen with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans did not ask for an autograph following Tampa Bay's loss to the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.

"After speaking with the individuals involved, we have confirmed that the postgame interaction between [side judge] Jeff Lamberth, [line judge] Tripp Sutter, and Mike Evans did not involve a request by the game officials for an autograph," the statement read. "Both Lamberth and Sutter have been reminded of the importance of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety when interacting with players, coaches, and club staff on gameday -- including during the pregame and postgame time periods."

Following Sunday's game, a video surfaced of Lamberth and Sutter looking to be asking Evans for what appeared to be a signature. The interaction prompted a review by the league, which concluded on Tuesday.

NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported that Lamberth was getting Evans' phone number to pass it along to a golf pro in order to get the receiver lessons, per a source. Pelissero added that Lamberth didn't have any paper, so he borrowed it from another official. Both Evans and Lamberth attended Texas A&M.

Evans confirmed to reporters Tuesday that he did not sign an autograph on Sunday.

"I wasn't signing an autograph, I'll tell you that," Evans said, per The Athletic. "I talk to a lot of officials. We're all human beings. He's a nice guy. We were just talking about golf."

Game officials asking for an autograph from players could violate the agreed-upon rules between the league and the NFL Referees Association. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association specifically states game officials "shall not ... ask players, coaches or any other team personnel for autographs or memorabilia."

Tampa Bay fell to the Panthers, 21-3, for its fourth loss in five games.

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