Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: July 21-27

By Adam Silverstein
July 27, 2013

The 2013 NFL season is just one week away from beginning with preseason action kicking off on Sunday, Aug. 4.

More than three dozen former Florida Gators are currently working out with their respective teams and trying to either keep or earn roster spots for the upcoming year.

Below are select updates on some of these Gators for the first full week of training camp from July 21-27.

QB TIM TEBOW, New England Patriots: His first full practice with his new team generated its fair share of excitement with some fans in attendance occasionally chanting his name. Though he is listed as the third-string quarterback – and therefore worked behind center in 11-on-11 drills during practice – Tebow also participated in drills where he caught the ball and attempted to break a tackle. In other words, New England may have more planned for him than head coach Bill Belichick wanted to admit initially. “I just do what I’m told and work as hard as I possibly can to do the best job I can with whatever I’m asked to do,” he said.

Comcast SportsNet‘s Patriots beat writer Tom E. Curran described Tebow’s practice as, in one word, “horrendous.”

After practice, Tebow was swarmed by the media and questioned about former Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez. “It’s just heartbreaking and sad, and all my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families that were involved,” he said. “I understand why you [the media] have to ask all the questions; that’s part of doing your job. Part of mine is listening to instruction, and we’ve been told not to talk about it.”

Tebow was happy to defend former Gators head coach Urban Meyer, however. “I feel like Coach Meyer is a great man, one of the best I’ve had the privilege of being around,” he said. “He is someone that not only tries to win football games, he’s someone that tries to invest in young men’s lives and help young men grow. He cares very deeply about that. That’s one of the reasons I’m so close to him and why I’m proud of him.”

Read updates on more than a dozen other former Gators…after the break!


WR PERCY HARVIN, Seattle Seahawks: Seattle’s biggest offseason move was acquiring Harvin, an electric talent from a conference rival, via trade with Minnesota. Making that move and signing the often-injured Harvin to a brand new six-year, $67 million contract was also a huge risk for the Seahawks, one that the franchise may already be regretting.

It was announced Friday that Harvin had been placed on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hip injury that he apparently suffered while working out over the summer. It is believed that he has a slight tear in his labrum, which Seattle hopes will not require surgery, but Harvin will be getting a second opinion on the injury Tuesday and would be forced to miss the entire season if surgery is needed. Even if he does not have surgery initially, he may have to eventually go under the knife if his rehabilitation does not work quick enough.

“It may [require surgery], but we’ll find out,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said at a press conference. “We’re just going to go ahead and go step by step right now. I know he was working full speed just a few days ago. But we need to take care of him, so we’ll take every precaution to do that.”

Then again, perhaps this is just a continuation of Harvin’s career-long trend of suddenly getting injured and missing practices.

RB CHRIS RAINEY, Free Agent: Rainey tweeted on Saturday that he was on his way back from Seattle, WA. He did not specify why he was took a trip to the Pacific Northwest (and did not return OnlyGators.com‘s request for comment), but it would not be much of a surprise if the Seahawks brought him in for a private workout just in case Harvin is forced to miss part of the season or the entire 2013 campaign.

C MIKE POUNCEY, Miami Dolphins; C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: The “Free Hernandez” hats worn by the Pouncey brothers caused quite a stir last week. Though Maurkice stepped forward and apologized, Mike was silent, which only fueled the criticism and questions. On Friday, Maurkice told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the non-apology from Mike was not his own doing. “I talked to Mike, and his team handled this situation a lot different than [the Steelers] did,” he said. “I’m sure Mike wanted to apologize but that’s how they handled it.”

Mike refused to discuss the topic, putting the focus solely on football, but his brother was perfectly fine with talking about it one last time. “I understand it was a serious situation, and I apologize if I offended anyone,” Maurkice said. “I’m here to play football, and let’s move off from that. I know I took a lot of heat for it, and I probably should have. I understand what happened. It’s pretty cool now, and I’ll let things blow away.”

RB MIKE GILLISLEE, Miami Dolphins: Praised by Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin for his lack of tentativeness behind the line of scrimmage, Gillislee is opening eyes at Miami’s training camp with his quickness and ability to make tacklers miss in space. “He hasn’t been tentative, that’s the one thing when you get a young back, you’re a little concerned; new scheme, getting used to pro football, maybe a little dance and shuffle, and we haven’t seen any of that,” Philbin said. “We’ve seen [instead]: get to the point of attack, make a decision and go.”

K CALEB STURGIS, Miami Dolphins: Though he is the odds-on favorite to win the starting job (mostly because he could save his team $2 million by beating out its incumbent), Sturgis is going head-to-head with veteran Dan Carpenter in camp and has been unable to showcase his leg as of late. Battling a groin injury, Sturgis missed a few kicks early in camp and has spent the last two practices not working but rather riding an exercise bike. It may be a few weeks before he can resume the competition, and the Dolphins may go deep into the preseason with two kickers on the roster in order to give Sturgis a fair chance to win the gig.

DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Re-signed last offsesaon, Mincey had a down year overall in 2012 but hopes to have a resurgence with Jacksonville’s new coaching staff. “I think I can be used as a weapon, take it place to place, be a jackknife type of guy, a utility man,” he said, according to ESPN.com. “I can do it all. […] I’m hard-nosed, hard-working, man. Wherever you put me, I’ll do the best at the position.” Mincey, who played nearly 84 percent of the Jaguars’ plays last season, will see less field time in hopes of keeping his stamina up and allowing him to become an effective pass rusher once again.

WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Though the last thing one likes to think of is who can benefit from another player’s untimely injury, a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered by Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin leaves a gaping hole that needs to be filled by another playmaker. It appears as if Cooper may get the first crack at the additional work, at least early in training camp. Though reporters generally believe he struggled in Philadelphia’s first practice, Cooper shined on Saturday and showed glimpses of the playmaking ability he flashed throughout his Florida career.

S MATT ELAM, Baltimore Ravens: Expected to start at strong safety for the Ravens, Elam turned heads during minicamp and is once again impressing his teammates and coaches during the early going of training camp. In this video (1:25), Elam intercepts starting QB Joe Flacco during seven-on-seven drills. “He’s definitely a natural,” head coach John Harbaugh said this week. “He’s got a gift understanding the game from back there – his spacing, his awareness of routes, his understanding of where he needs to be relative to the guys around him. He’s got a good feel for that, so he should progress really quickly. […] Certainly he’ll make a few mistakes here and there, but Matt will make them fast. He’s a very aggressive player, very smart, and he’s going to be a key contributor for us.”

Elam, as always, remained confident but humble when asked about his early success in camp. “People have high expectations of me,” he said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “They want me to do great things, but I’ve got to live up to my own expetations. The way I work and the way I study, I feel like that will take care of itself.”

WR OMARIUS HINES, Free Agent: Hines, an undrafted free agent picked up by Baltimore, was cut from the team on Monday.

DT SHARRIF FLOYD, Minnesota Vikings: Imagine watching a defensive tackle play on the kickoff return team. That is what Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is envisioning and planning to try during training camp. Priefer also plans to use Floyd on field goal and punt units. “If he was a 320-pounder, a nose tackle-type guy that doesn’t move as well as you want him to on special teams, I wouldn’t use him,” he said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I don’t even know what he weighs. I just know he’s big, strong, and he’s got great feet.”

WR DAVID NELSON, Cleveland Browns: After tearing his ACL in Week 1 last year, Nelson missed the rest of the season and was not re-signed by Buffalo. He joined Cleveland this offseason but did not participate in minicamp or OTAs as he was still rehabbing his injury and getting back to 100 percent. Nelson was officially activated from the PUP list on Friday and will begin his journey to earning a roster spot.

TE JORDAN REED, Washington Redskins: Reed’s combination injury to his thigh, quad and knee seriously concerned the Redskins, but he was listed as a full participant at the start of training camp after missing all of minicamp and organized team activities earlier this summer. He is not expected to be more than the No. 3 tight end on Washington’s roster at the start of the season, but he can work his way up to second string if he can improve as a blocker.

G MAURICE HURT, Washington Redskins: Unable to recover in time from arthroscopic knee surgery he underwent in May, Hurt has been placed on the PUP list. It is unknown as to when he will be available to begin practicing with the Redskins.

2 Comments

  1. Jpitts says:

    Josh Evans?

    • This is not a post with updates on EVERY Gators player in the NFL, just those that made the news this past week. There are more than three dozen currently on NFL teams’ training camp rosters.

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