By Lizette Robles - November 09, 2020
A lifelong bond formed between two unlikely friends on May 20, 2020. That’s the day 23-year-old Marco Solis met his hero, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans.
On that particular Wednesday, Solis found himself hospitalized at Moffitt Cancer Center due to complications from colorectal cancer. Solis was scared and in pain. To try and distract him, his care team struck up a conversation about his favorite sport – football – and his favorite team – the Bucs. And as luck would have it, his favorite player came through in a big way.
Before Solis was discharged from the hospital, Evans surprised him with a virtual visit via Zoom. The pair talked about everything from faith and family, to football and video games.
Though Solis had a tough road ahead, Evans vowed to keep the young man in his prayers, telling him they were, “Locked in forever now.”
Sadly, just two months after that call of a lifetime, Solis passed away before the start of football season, unable to catch a glimpse of his beloved number 13 in action. But his courage and perseverance would leave a lasting impact on the star wide out.
Evans invited the entire Solis family to attend the Bucs' Crucial Catch cancer awareness game on Oct. 18 at Raymond James Stadium. During pre-game warmups, he wore custom cleats in Solis's honor.
One side of the cleats read "Rest Easy Marco," while the other side displayed Solis's photo with the words "My Guy" etched on them.
Playing a near perfect game with no penalties, no sacks or interceptions, the Buccaneers handed the Packers their first loss of the season that day, beating Green Bay 38 to 10. The last time the pewter pirates played a game without committing a recorded penalty was in 1983 at Detroit. No doubt their number one fan Marco had something to do with that!