FOUR BITS: Walk, Elam, Driskel, Kitchens

By Adam Silverstein
July 9, 2013

1 » Former Florida Gators center Neal Walk, the highest-drafted basketball player in school history (No. 2 overall in the 1969 NBA Draft), is featured in last week’s Sports Illustrated “Where Are They Now?” issue. In the piece, Walk discusses how vegetarianism and drug use affected his performance on the court and eventually caused him to get traded away from the Phoenix Suns. He eventually played in Italy but was arrested for drug possession and soon ended his career. Walk, who renamed himself Joshua Hawk in the 1980s following a spiritual journey, has been confined to a wheelchair for the last 26 years after being diagnosed with atrophy. He had the opportunity to return to the Suns shortly after retiring and remained with the franchise up until recently being let go in Oct. 2012. Be sure to pick up the latest copy of SI for a detailed and immensely interesting look at Walk’s life and career.

2 » After going through the 2013 NFL Draft process without an agent, Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam has decided not maintain his stance not to hire one and will instead negotiate his own rookie contract, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. The No. 32 overall pick in April, Elam is being advised by his brother, seven-year veteran NFL safety Abram Elam, who is currently a free agent. Matt Elam’s rookie contract will be a four-year deal worth $6.8 million with a $3.3 million signing bonus, terms that are already worked out under the slotting system that was agreed upon during the last collective bargaining agreement between league owners and the NFL Players Association. He plans to get the deal done before the start of training camp. Other Gators rookies unsigned as of press time are Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans.

Read two more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!

3 » Some Florida fans have been inquiring as to why junior quarterback Jeff Driskel had not yet participated in an offseason camp to improve his skills heading into the 2013 season. Those questions were answered on Tuesday when the Gators announced that Driskel will be participating in the Manning Passing Academy Offensive Skills Camp beginning July 11 in Thibodaux, LA. Driskel, who will be able to work out with both Peyton and Eli Manning during the event, will also be serving as a counselor throughout the four-day camp as kids in grades 8-12 will be participating. “I’ve never really been a coach to younger kids or anything,” Driskel said. “Whatever they ask me to do I’ll be happy to do. When they told me we were going to get to work out with the Mannings once or twice, I didn’t listen to the rest.”

4 » A photograph taken at the conclusion of the 2013 Sugar Bowl by friend of OnlyGators.com Whitney Holtzman featured then-junior linebacker Darrin Kitchens as the sole Florida player singing the alma mater with the marching band. Kitchens spoke with The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu recently and discussed a number of topics including why he felt the need to go over to the band rather than head to the locker room after the game. “It’s very special to be here at the University of Florida. I just tried to show my respect,” he said. “Everyone was going to the locker room and I saw the band playing the alma mater, and some of them are seniors. Something inside me compelled me to go and stand and show my respect for the seniors that were leaving. I just did it. The band works hard just like we work hard. They’re at the games like we’re at the games. I wanted to show them respect. I wasn’t paying attention at first [that I was the only one]. I looked around and I was like, ‘Wow.’”

7 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    Darrin Kitchens is a truly great gator. Everybody else who walked off that field, especially the coaching staff, should be ashamed.

  2. Matt says:

    Class Act!!!

  3. Crock says:

    vegetarianism??? Did I read that right?

    9 × = sixty three(These are getting too hard if I it takes me more than two seconds to figure out the answer)

  4. Zulueta says:

    Very impressed with Kitchens.

  5. Michael Jones says:

    Beautiful to hear that from Kitchens. What a model student athlete!

  6. Alex says:

    I think it’s a smart move by Elam to do his own contract. They’re essentially set by the CBA for first-round picks, aren’t they? If there’s no wiggle room, why give an agent a cut to basically run the paperwork for you?

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