Former Titans defensive lineman Josh Evans dies at 48 after battle with cancer

Chris Cwik
·2 min read
Josh Evans Titans.
Josh Evans was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2020. (AP Photo/John Russell, FIle)

Former Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Josh Evans died Friday of cancer. He was 48.

Evans spent six of his nine seasons in the NFL as a member of the Oilers/Titans. Evans joined the team as an undrafted rookie in 1995, and worked his way to a starting position during the 1998 season.

The following year, Evans started 10 of 11 games for the Titans. The team continued to rely on Evans in the playoffs, where he started all four of the Titans’ playoff games that season, including Super Bowl XXXIV. The Titans lost that contest 23-16, coming up a yard short against the St. Louis Rams. Evans finished the game with five tackles.

Evans missed the 2000 season after a substance abuse suspension. He returned in 2001, started all 16 games for the Titans and racked up 5.5 sacks. That offseason, Evans joined the New York Jets. He turned in another strong season in 2006, starting every game and picking up a career-high six sacks. Evans started two games for the Jets in the playoffs that year. The team lost to the Oakland Raiders in the divisional round.

In 2020, Evans revealed he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Evans shed light on his battle that June, telling the Titans’ website he was fighting hard. Evans also asked fans to send their prayers.

Titans release statement remembering Josh Evans

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk released a statement Friday paying tribute to Evans. Strunk said she would remember Evans’ “big personality and even bigger smile.”

"I am so sad to hear that our Titans family lost Josh Evans today. His fight against cancer was one of courage and strength and his teammates were by his side encouraging him throughout that fight. We will remember his big personality and even bigger smile. We send our condolences to his family and friends in this difficult time."

In October, the Titans named Evans as their honorary 12th man for their game against the Houston Texans.

A number of Evans’ former teammates appeared in that video and sent encouraging words to Evans.

The Titans won that game 42-36.

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