Buccaneers' Mike Evans optimistic about playing Sunday

TAMPA, Fla. -- For the second straight Friday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans said his injured hamstring feels better.

“I feel good,’’ Evans said. “I feel real close to normal.’’

That’s pretty much the same thing Evans said last week, but he ended up being held out of the season opener against Tennessee. But there has been one big difference this week. Evans has been practicing after sitting out all of last week. Evans practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

But coach Lovie Smith wasn’t ready to pronounce Evans ready to go for this Sunday’s game at New Orleans.

“You want them to say that they’re ready to go,’’ Smith said. “Mike wasn’t ready to go last week. He’s closer this week. We have a little bit of time before game time.’’

Although Evans believes he’s ready, he said he’ll leave the final decision up to the coaching staff.

“They’ve been around this game longer than I have and they’ve seen funny things with hamstrings,’’ Evans said. “They want to make sure I’m all the way 100 percent. Playing a full game, I don’t know how I’d feel after. I might end up going too hard or pulling it again. They’re being cautious and I understand.’’