From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden has been a fan favorite in his short time as a superstar in Cleveland, OH but not only because of what he does on the field. Haden shows up to a ton of local sporting events (especially Cleveland Cavaliers games), attended prom as a high school student’s date, sponsored a kid’s baseball team and even invites fans to meet him out at random places in Cleveland for free food and drinks. Haden’s latest gesture of good will occurred this week when he bumped into a fan looking at NFL jerseys at Finish Line. Noticing that the fan, Bradley Morrison, was specifically looking at his jersey, Haden took it off the rack, paid for it and then signed it on the spot without being asked. It is rare for an athlete to embrace a city he never previously lived in as much as Haden has Cleveland, but he has proven to be completely authentic in his love for the town which he now calls home.
» Though it is not yet official, it appears as if Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will soon be signing a multi-year deal with Nike. Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein told The Washington Post last week that they are “excited” about the relationship and opportunity. “Obviously Nike does terrific things and I think he’s going to be a big part of their plans going forward,” Bartelstein told the paper.
» Does New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow have a celebrity girlfriend? The rumors and tabloid gossip appear to be real this time as TMZ recently spotted Tebow out bowling with actress Camilla Belle. Reports the website:
Tim and Camilla Belle showed up at Latitude 30 in Jacksonville, Florida Tuesday night, where they bowled and partied. Camilla has a history with other putatively pure celebs. She dated Joe Jonas for awhile, but they split up in 2009. People who were at Latitude 30 last night tell us … Tim and Camilla were overly affectionate throughout the evening, holding hands and touching. Camilla’s rep didn’t get back to us, but sources connected with Camilla tell us they are definitely an item.
Check out SIX more Gator Bites…after the break!
» With Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey leaving school early for the NFL, coupled with the fact that Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey seemed to struggle in his one year at the position while at Florida, it would have been hard for one to believe that Mike could wind up being the better professional player. Yet in the second year of his NFL career, Mike is being touted not only as his brother’s equal but possibly as a more talented player. Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians, who was Maurkice’s offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh for two years, told the Miami Herald that the Dolphins “have a great offensive line. Mike Pouncey is better than Maurkice, and make sure you tell Maurkice I said that.” Mike is indeed playing at a Pro Bowl level in his second season and is already looked at as one of the best centers in the NFL.
» Speaking of Mike Pouncey, he wore this suit (pictured below thanks to the Palm Beach Post‘s Ben Volin) after the Dolphins whipped the New York Jets 30-7 last Sunday. The outfit got a great buzz in the locker room and with reporters following the game.
» Gators sophomore running back Chris Johnson was allowed to film his game day experience and did exactly that as Florida hosted South Carolina at The Swamp a few weeks ago. Below is a video that was edited together by UF:
» Boasting one of the best averages in the nation and proving to be a valuable commodity for the Gators, sophomore punter Kyle Christy was named last week as a candidate for the 2012 Ray Guy Award. Next Friday, the list of 69 candidates will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists, and Christy is expected to make the cut. Should he be on the new list, Christy would have the opportunity to be the second punter in team history to win the award, following in the footsteps of Chas Henry, who won in 2010.
» No. 1-seed Gators soccer (15-4-1) took down the Ole Miss Rebels (13-9-0) on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Southeastern Conference Tournament. Florida triumphed 2-1 thanks to a goal at 12’ by senior midfielder Jo Dragotta and a game-winning strike at 89’ by senior forward Erika Tymrak. UF actually led the vast majority of the match but gave up a goal at 81’ to Ole Miss’s Erin Emerson. Tymrak’s clutch goal just eight minutes later advanced Florida to the semifinals, where it will take on No. 5 Missouri on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
» Speaking of soccer, the Gators dominated the league’s regular season honors this year with Becky Burleigh winning SEC Coach of the Year, Tymark taking home SEC Offensive Player of the Year and senior MF Holly King being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Tymrak and King were joined by Dragotta on the All-SEC first team, while freshman defender Christen Westphal was chosen for the second team and SEC All-Freshman team. Burleigh’s league coaching award was her fifth, but Tymrak became the first player in team history to capture her honor.