1 » Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons has every intention of living up to his new three-year, $46 million contract, and he plans to do it by improving his defense. “We’ve got a great staff that really emphasizes defense,” he said, according to ESPNDallas.com. “Where I’m coming from, offense was always our main goal. Now we’ve got to win games and championship on the defensive side. I’m totally locked in and dialed in to do that.” Parsons was a solid defender for the Florida Gators but was ranked 190th overall in the NBA by Synergy Sports after the 2013-14 season.
2 » San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald is no longer scheduled to go to court to face arraignment after being accused of domestic abuse. McDonald, who has yet to be charged with a crime, had his hearing canceled; it will not be rescheduled until or unless the state actually brings charges against him, according to USA Today. The 49ers coaching staff and ownership has been very supportive of McDonald over the last month, claiming they believe his side of the story and want to let due process take its course before acting. Obviously McDonald’s long-term status with the team will affect 2015 Super Bowl betting online, especially as far as San Francisco is concerned.
3 » Four-star linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH), Florida’s highest-ranked commitment and the 36th-best player in the nation per Rivals, is an important piece for the Gators going forward. The high school senior is already making an impact – not on the field but in his community – as ESPN.com recently profiled Baker and his efforts to “spread awareness about sexual assault and violence against women.” Baker set up a seminar where he and other speakers empowered the 120 attendees (all area student-athletes) to be active in helping end violence against women. He is now in the process of both writing a letter to United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and “working on a scripted film that involves football players, a coach and a sexual assault survivor.”
4 » Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden is trying to live up to the five-year, $68 million contract extension he signed in the offseason but is simply not succeeding to this point. Haden struggled through the first three weeks of the season, giving up long completions and touchdown passes, and head coach Mike Pettine said Monday that he expects more from his high-priced defender. “He’s played well at times, but as you can see, at some inopportune times he’s not played well,” said Pettine, according to Cleveland.com. “I think he’ll admit that, as well. That’s what we talk about. The great ones are going to make big plays when it’s needed, and I think that’s one area where Joe will look to improve.” So far, Haden and the Browns have gone up against a trio of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Cleveland is coming off a bye this week and will face much softer competition next Sunday when it travels to Tennessee.
Extra BIT » Former Gators quarterback Jesse Palmer, currently a college football analyst for ESPN, will be taking over hosting duties of a reality cooking show for Food Network, “Food Truck Face Off.” Long-known to be a foodie, Palmer claims to be a food truck aficionado, which makes him a good fit for the show. “I’ll always carry $20 cash on me in case I find a food truck,” he told the New York Post. “There are so many times in [New York] City when you’ll be walking around, doing errands or whatever, and all of a sudden there’s just one there on the corner and you go, ‘Oh, dumplings … I’ve got 10 bucks; let’s just do it!'” Palmer is well-known not just for his career as a football player and analyst; he is also a reality show veteran as the featured subject of The Bachelor in 2004.