Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans had a childhood that’s hard to imagine. His mother got pregnant with him when she was 14. His father stayed with his mother but was physically abusive, once going to jail for punching her. Eventually Evans’ mother’s brother put a stop to the abuse by murdering Evans’ father. Evans’ uncle remains in prison.
One of the bright spots of Evans’ childhood was that Steelers Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, who grew up in the same area of Galveston, Texas, as Evans, would come back each year and offer children a free football camp. Evans knew as a child attending those camps that he wanted to do the same thing one day.
So as Evans announces his second annual football camp at Ball High School, which he and Hampton both attended, he views it as a chance to give back.
“I’ve always had great mentors,” Evans told the Houston Chronicle. “I’ve had a lot of great friends and people in my life. It all helps. You’ve got to live on and stay positive and give back to others.”
Evans said his first camp was a hit, and those camps will continue.
“I’ve been blessed,” Evans said. “I just want to share that with people, the kids. Everybody had so much fun last year. I love kids. I know a lot of kids from the area. It’s just fun seeing everybody and interacting and playing with them, especially the younger ones. They had such a good time. They can compete. It’s fun seeing them happy.”
That kind of effort makes Evans an easy player to root for.