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NFL says game officials were not seeking player’s autograph

<i>Eakin Howard/Getty Images</i><br/>The NFL says the two game officials seen in a video interacting with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans were not asking for the wide receiver's autograph.
Eakin Howard
Eakin Howard/Getty Images
The NFL says the two game officials seen in a video interacting with Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans were not asking for the wide receiver's autograph.

By David Close, CNN

The NFL says the two game officials seen in a video interacting with Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans were not asking for the wide receiver’s autograph.

Following the Bucs loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, Panthers beat writer Sheena Quick filmed the two officials in the stadium tunnel appearing to hand Evans a pen and paper. Evans momentarily stopped and scribbled something down.

The NFL issued a statement on Tuesday clearing the officials of any wrongdoing.

“After speaking with the individuals involved, we have confirmed that the postgame interaction between Jeff Lamberth, Tripp Sutter, and Mike Evans did not involve a request by the game officials for an autograph.

“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.”

An NFL spokesperson would not comment further when asked what the interaction was about.

On Tuesday, Evans told reporters he and side judge Lamberth were talking about golf.

“I wasn’t signing my autograph, I can tell you that. I talk to a lot of officials. We are all human beings. He’s a nice guy. That’s all. We were just talking about golf. That’s all we were talking about,” said Evans.

NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reports the interaction centered around Lamberth getting Evans’ phone number to introduce the wide receiver to a golf pro for lessons.

The NFL would not confirm nor deny Pelissero’s account.

CNN has reached out to the NFL Referees Association for comment.

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