TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – His talent on the field transported him to the National Football League but, now, Aaron Evans is focusing on his art swapping football pads for sketch pads.
“I am really authentically myself right now,” said Evans, “more than I ever have been in my entire life.”
He spoke those words from a wooden stage in front of a canvas in the middle of his backyard.
“Be all that God intended you to be,” he said, “like that is really what I am trying to do right now. Every second of the day, every day of the week nonstop, I paint and I paint and I paint.”
Evans, who is not exaggerating, is finally home.
“Art is my peace,” he stated.
The arts, unlike the sport of football, always had a special place in his heart. He never had to learn to love them.
“I always did it for fun,” he said. “I remember I started drawing a lot when I was little in school because I was bored and I would draw what I wanted to see.”
Evans started playing football because he was bigger than most of his peers.
“Football was never something that I personally asked to play,” he explained. “It was more like, I was big so I was going to play, so I did and I got really good at it, and overtime, I grew to love football but I would say I did not love football until high school. I think I hated it, honestly, until high school. It was just a chore for me on a daily basis.”
His skills as an offensive lineman carried him from Armwood High School, to the University of Central Florida, to the NFL.
“I trained in Miami for four or five months and, then, I got an opportunity to play for Philly,” said Evans.
The Philadelphia Eagles released him after the 2018 preseason in his rookie year. Evans joined the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football and then the Kansas City Chiefs called him.
“I got sick to my stomach,” admitted Evans, “and I was like, ‘I do not want to go. I want to paint and I want to send this as hard as I can and I want to go for this.’”
Evans followed his dream on April 28, 2019.
“I quit everything in my life,” he said. “I started over from scratch. I called the Chiefs back and told them, ‘No.’ I remember having soapbox moments with my mom. She was like, ‘What are you doing?’ I was like, ‘Mom, I am not happy and I want to be happy.’”
Evans is finding his happiness and, day after day, painting after painting, he is finding success, not as an athlete, but as an artist.
What is his vision for his future?
“I hope that my brand grows pretty exponentially in Tampa soon,” said Evans. “I am praying for that but, all in all, I am really open to anything. I want it to be big.”
MORE SPORTS STORIES:
- Lightning fans pack Riverwalk to catch glimpse of champs, Stanley Cup
- Rays close-out series with the Blue Jays with 8-2 win
- WATCH: Tampa celebrates Lightning’s Stanley Cup win with boat parade on Hillsborough River
- NFL threatening suspensions for maskless sideline personnel
- NFL: Steelers and Titans will play Monday or Tuesday