ATLANTA — Josh Evans, a defensive tackle who started for the Tennessee Titans in the franchise's lone Super Bowl appearance, has died.
Evans, who was 48, died Thursday night in Fayetteville, Georgia, one year after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. His death was confirmed to the AP by Willie Watkins Funeral Home in nearby Riverdale, which is handling arrangements.
A native of Langdale, Alabama, Evans retired in 2005 after a nine-year NFL career, including six seasons with the Houston Oilers, who moved from Texas to Tennessee after the 1996 season and later changed their name to the Titans. Evans, who had 21.5 sacks and started 53 of 94 games in his professional career, played his final three seasons with the New York Jets.
"His fight against cancer was one of courage and strength, and his teammates were by his side encouraging him throughout that fight," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk in a statement released by the team. "We will remember his big personality and even bigger smile."
The Titans honored Evans as the 12th Titan in their game against the Houston Texans this past Oct. 18.
He started 10 games and had 3.5 sacks for the 1999 Titans, who advanced to Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta, where they lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams in a game that came down to the final play. Evans had five tackles at the Georgia Dome on Jan. 30, 2000, a week after he sacked Mark Brunell for a safety in the Titans' 33-14 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC title game.
He set his career high with six sacks for the Jets in 2002. The following year, Evans was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy for a third time. He missed the first four games in 1999 with Tennessee after his first violation and was suspended for the entire 2000 season.
He made the Oilers as an undrafted rookie from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1995. He was named to the UAB Athletics Hall of Fame in 2020.