Cut day a mixed bag for six former Gators

NFL franchises were forced to reduce their rosters to 53 players on Friday as the 2012 regular season draws closer. Six former Florida Gators were impacted by decisions their respective teams made with the results different for each player.

Receiving the good news were New York Giants safety Will Hill and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson, a pair of undrafted free agents who performed so well in training camp and during a preseason that they earned roster spots on their respective teams.

Hill, who went undrafted in 2011 and did not play in the NFL last season, was signed early in the offseason by the Giants and impressed the coaching staff so much (both on and off the field) that he will not only make the team but also see extensive playing time. He registered 15 tackles (12 solo) and a sack in four preseason games.

Thompson joined the Ravens along with former Gators quarterback John Brantley, who was cut early in the offseason. He led Baltimore in receptions, receiving yards in the first and fourth preseason games (scoring a touchdown in each) and had kickoff returns of 42 yards and 63 yards in the two games in-between.

Dealt the first bit of negative news was New England Patriots running back Jeff Demps, whose season is over after the team placed him on injured reserve. Demps signed with the Patriots two weeks ago and played in the team’s final two preseason games. He took nine carries for 55 yards, caught three balls for 31 yards, returned three kicks for 63 yards and brought back five punts for 65 yards.

He supposedly injured his knee during practice, but it was not at all believed to be serious. New England placing him on injured reserves keeps him under the team’s control (he signed a three-year contract) and gives him the entire season and offseason to get into football shape and learn the playbook. The move is basically a way of stashing a player by circumventing the waiver wire process.

Though New York decided to keep Hill, the Giants chose to part ways with veteran defensive tackle Marcus Thomas on Friday. Thomas signed a one-year deal on Aug. 16 but has now been cut just two weeks later and will look to catch on with another team.

Also looking for new homes now are tight end Cornelius Ingram, who spent the entire offseason with the Denver Broncos but was cut loose on Friday, and linebacker Brandon Hicks, who was hoping to catch on with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Other prominent Florida players who are also currently free agents include Brantley, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, DT Gerard Warren, tackle Phil Trautwein, defensive end Bobby McCray, DE Derrick Harvey, DE Jarvis Moss, DE Justin Trattou and cornerback Lito Sheppard. LB Andra Davis and RB Earnest Graham are close to retirement.

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6 Responses to “Cut day a mixed bag for six former Gators”

  1. KW says:

    I’m extremely happy for Deonte Thompson for making the Ravens team!!! He worked so hard last year even when things were not going well for him or the team!

  2. SC_Gator says:

    I’m happy that ol’ Stone Hands seems to have finally developed. Wishing him all the best!

    I’m also really impressed with Will Hill, not only playing well but seeming to finally have gotten his off the field life under control.

    As for Demps, it’s good to remember that the rules surrounding the IR changed this year. Teams can now active one single player off of the list penalty free and have him play this season. I don’t know enough about their IR list to know how likely it is that the player activated is Demps but it would seem a realistic possibility.

  3. FB says:

    Really surprised Will Hill made the team, his last year at UF was not good except for the Ga game.

  4. SC_Gator says:

    Yeah, re-reading it I got mixed up on the after Sept 4th part. This year only they could pull someone off IR that’s already on there prior to the roster cut if they did so by 9PM on Friday, otherwise it only applies to players put on after the 4th. I was reading that the 4th was the deadline to make the call instead.

  5. BKP says:

    Couldnt be happier for Will Hill! I’m glad he was able to show some humility and get down to business. Hopefully Thompson can return to the 5 star form he once was coming out of high school.

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