1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver David Nelson – a five-year NFL veteran who had spent time in Buffalo, Cleveland and with the New York Jets – has been without a team since being waived by the Jets in mid-October after New York traded for his Florida teammate, WR Percy Harvin. On Wednesday, Nelson was finally picked up when the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a contract and reunited him with former Gators teammates center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert.
For Nelson, the Steelers signing comes nearly a month after he posted a deeply personal blog on his charity’s website. Asking, ‘Do I pursue my passion, or my heart?‘ Nelson explores how his i’mME charity changed his life but also made him a bit of an outsider in the NFL. “Since my release, there’s been hesitation to sign me to a contract, due largely to how I spend my free time [with my charity], even though it’s made me stronger – physically mentally, emotionally.” Nelson pointed out that “not one team” has said his talent was an issue; rather, “I’m hearing questions about my commitment because I’m outspoken about my nonprofit, and I do a lot to make it successful.”
Sounds almost impossible, right? Some in the NFL, which as an organization is increasingly worried about the off-field image of its players, think a capable veteran spent too much of his time outside of the game helping people to dedicate himself fully to being good at the sport. “So if given an ultimatum, I choose i’mME,” Nelson wrote. “But that doesn’t mean it’s my #1 priority and that football is a side project I do for fun. … What if it was possible to do both, and more importantly, do both really well? If that were the case, what would locker rooms look like?” Maybe the Steelers will find out.
2 » Close friends since being teammates at Florida, linebacker Jelani Jenkins invited safety Josh Evans to join him at his youth football camp recently. Jenkins, who plays for the Miami Dolphins, and Evans (with the Jacksonville Jagaurs) have both succeeded on the field in the NFL and see each other often considering they are so close both in friendship and distance. In a documentary-style video shot at Jenkins’s football camp, Evans gave a short speech to the youngsters in attendance. Check it out below.
3 » When the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday signed linebacker IK Enemkpali – yes, the same one who punched Geno Smith and knocked him out for 6-10 weeks – the team was forced to make another move to clear a roster spot. As such, Buffalo waived tight end Clay Burton as an injured player. Burton was an undrafted free agent this offseason and was not ultimately expected to make the Bills’ roster.
4 » Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Louis Murphy and Washington TE Jordan Reed are both dealing with injuries in training camp. Murphy missed 11 Bucs practices with an ankle, while Reed is listed as “day to day” by head coach Jay Gruden with hamstring soreness. Reed has been bothered by hamstring injuries throughout his career. Though he has proven to be an effective NFL tight end, his inability to stay healthy has derailed him from putting together a truly special campaign. Reed will once again be a risky playmaker for Washington in 2015.
Photo Credits: Reuters, Associated Press