DT Leon Orr contrite about leaving Florida

By Adam Silverstein
November 10, 2014

Now-former Florida Gators redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr did not play in Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt after leaving the team on game day when Orr learned from head coach Will Muschamp that he would not be starting the game.

Florida announced before the game, and Muschamp explained after the Gators’ 34-10 win, that Orr would have seen the field for his normal allotment of plays, but he could not accept not starting the contest.

“Leon hasn’t started since the Alabama game. He hadn’t started all week in practice. Came to me [Saturday] and didn’t understand why he wasn’t starting, said he was going to go home. That was his decision. I said, ‘You go home, you’re done. You’re not a Florida Gator anymore,’” Muschamp said Saturday night.

As a result, Orr was kicked off the team for good, a fact Muschamp reiterated on Monday during his weekly press conference. “Nothing’s changed,” he said.


After sending numerous tweets during his bus ride on Saturday, Orr posted on Instagram early Sunday morning, saying the following: “At the end of the day ppl make mistakes we all human , I love my team and I love the #GatorNation ! Goodnight.”

On Monday, he sent a series of tweets in an attempt to clarify the situation.

“I’ll have my chance to respond on the proper format , I won’t tongue wrestle fans or try to fit my reasoning in a tweet …” he began. “More than anything I love my university and my brothers and if you really know me and see me play you can tell …

“I made the mistake of putting my families future ahead of my team and for that I am truly sorry it’ll haunt me forever … But as my mothers only son I gotta find a way to provide for my three sisters , my daughter and neice !”

Orr is intimating here that not starting games for Florida drastically affects the way teams view him ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft.

What he does not seem to realize is that making an issue about not starting – and subsequently walking out on his team before a game for that reason – places him in a much more negative light as 32 prospective employers review his file ahead of the draft.

Asked about Orr’s departure from Florida, redshirt senior center Max Garcia had the following to say on Monday.

“Leon is a guy I respect a lot. I thought we were getting to a point where I saw him maturing a lot,” he said. “[Making that decision] struck me off guard.”

27 Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    he won’t play a down in the NFL

  2. Dave Massey says:

    Bad decision by Orr, plain and simple. Only decision by Muschamp, plain and simple.

  3. David says:

    Leon needs someone in his life who can give him some perspective about life in general. An audition for the NFL is what you put on game tape not whether you were in the game for the first series.

  4. Alan Garcia says:

    Providing for his family? He just walked away from any slight NFL chance he had. They are not big on quitters. Full respect for Coach Muschamp’s decision.

  5. Rakkasan says:

    I’m sure Orr will get his shot in the NFL. I’m still curious about the entire story, and looking forward to hearing his side.

  6. Joshua says:

    When emotion overtakes logic and reason, you can make some pretty foolish decisions. We’ve all made bad decisions, especially at that age. I hope he learns from it. I support Coach Muschamp 100%, though. You play your cards, I’ll play mine.

  7. Matt says:

    Finish your degree Orr and provide for your family in a way 99.9% of us do. Good luck to you in your endeavors and hopefully this is a learning lesson for you.

  8. Steven says:

    I sure know Will has let his anger and emotions get the best of him at times.
    Orr made a huge mistake, but to say he will never be allowed to be on the team again seems over the top.
    Orr should be allowed to rejoin the tea with punishment if he apologizes even though I would say the bus ride and humbling experience is punishment enough

  9. Michael Jones says:

    I hope that Muschamp follows the Billy D. model and sets up something that punishes Leon but still gives him a 2nd chance. The kid screwed up, big time, but we often tend to forget that they’re still just kids. They have these incredible bodies that can perform amazing feats but so many of them still have the mind of a teenager.

    I also think it’s ridiculous to write him off like he’ll never get a shot at the NFL. He didn’t beat a woman, hurt a kid, do a drug, or commit a felony. Yeah, an action that’s perceived as selfishness towards your teammates is a big deal, for sure, but a lot of players have done way worse and still got their shot.

    • one says:

      I agree completely.

      • sean kidd says:

        5th year senior with 3 regular season games to go. If not off the team for good, what do you think his punishment should be?

        • one says:

          Scout team and garbage time reps?

          Ask the team how they feel about bringing him back. They were the ones he left.

    • Dave Massey says:

      This is a fifth year senior we’re talking about here. Supposedly one of the team leaders, not a kid anymore but a young man. He made the decision to desert his team at a game, game eight. This was a totally selfish act. Not only that but he used it as a threat to Muschamp. Start me or I’m getting on the bus and riding the dog back to G’ville. Hope he enjoyed the long ride. Muschamp made it clear to him, you leave and you are done as a Gator. Doesn’t get any more clear cut than that. He did it anyways. Explain to me why he would deserve another chance? There are only three games left in the season plus maybe a bowl game. A bowl game is a reward that he hasn’t and won’t earn. Can’t see where anything less than a two game suspension would be warranted. And then how is the coaching staff supposed to trust him? Why bother for one more game.

      There is no Billy D model for this one. He never dealt with an act like this. Wilbekin not only had to sit out, but had to prove he deserved another chance at the beginning of his senior year. And that wasn’t over playing time. The most I can see happening is allowing him to be on the sidelines and see what he left behind. But then again who needs a sulking spoiled brat sitting on the sidelines.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Although I don’t profess to know all the specifics, I think that the Damontre Harris situation might have been similar to Orr’s. Not exactly, but similar in some ways. Billy D. didn’t make it easy, but he gave Harris a chance to work his way back onto the team and went a long way with him before Harris finally gave him no choice but to kick him off for good.

        Yeah, he’s a 5th year senior and what he did was bad, but I don’t think he’s had any other disciplinary issues while at UF, has he?

        Don’t get me wrong. I understand your points and the points that others are making. But for some reason my heart goes out to this kid, particularly because it sounds like he’s acknowledging that he made a mistake.

        • Orr had a couple arrests and has not always been the most level guy. It’s way different than the Harris situation.

        • Dave Massey says:

          I just hope he is smart enough to get his degree if he already hasn’t.

          I doubt with his issues and level of play that an NFL team will draft him. He might get a shot as an UFA at best. More likely his best shot will be in a different league than the NFL.

          He came in as a 5 star and didn’t put the effort forth to capitalize on his opportunity. It is all on him. I’ll save my pity for those who are more deserving than this guy. I do hope he makes something of himself though, same as all ex-Gators.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      When is a kid no longer a kid? He is a 5th year senior, for pete’s sake. He is able to drive, drink, smoke, serve in the military, vote, etc. He is not a kid. He may be an immature adult, but he is hardly a kid. He is old enough to make life choices and for better or worse he chose this path. Now he has to live with it. There is no way he didn’t know the probable consequences of what he did, he has been playing football for most of his life. If he has hit the primadonna mentality that the team and the coach owes him because of his experience (possibly something WM has instilled since he seldom plays youth unless absolutely has to), then this was an important life lesson.

      Most of the things we learn we learn because of adversity, not from success. Hopefully this experience will be of value to him moving forward with his life.

  10. INGATORSWETRUST says:

    Orr will not make a team unless he can play special teams in the NFL. If you are not a starter, you better be a backup that does not cause issues for the team and can also play special teams. Otherwise, you will be out of the league very quickly. Orr has the size and talent, but unfortunately does not have the every down motor to play at the next level. Feel sorry for him, as someone must have been feeding him this “you need to start” garbage and messing with his head

  11. Rob says:

    I personally believe he deserves a second chance but I also think Coach should leave the decision up to the players. If he does return, in my opinion, a harsh punishment should follow. Mistakes are made and it is clear he does not have a Father figure to guide him.

  12. SB says:

    Leon Orr makes an NFL practice squad around the same time FSU punishes Winston. The fact that he thinks/thought he has any chance of making a living playing football is a window into how misinformed some of these young men we all watch and worship and criticize really are.

  13. Nick says:

    Ore’s excuse for quitting is Coach won’t start me and that’ll keep me from making big NFL money which I must have to take care of my family back home?

  14. Chizzle says:

    Applaud Muschamp on this. Totally agree with Massey. His second chance was when Muschamp told him if he leaves….. he’s done. We don’t need distractions like him on the team.

  15. mjGator says:

    After reading Muschamp’s comments and reading Orr’s letter, I have to say that I think Muschamp failed in handling this situation. First, this confrontation doesn’t happen to coaches that have the respect of their players. This was building and not being managed. Second, even if a player approached a head coach with this attitude, a good coach wouldn’t have snapped and sent the kid on a bus back to Gainesville. A good coach would have discussed the situation, re-directed the player to fulfill his role by reminding him how important he is to the game plan, the coaching staff, the team, and how much he has to lose by making such a rash decision. A good coach would have instructed and taught this young man that his approach wasn’t a good approach. There were a lot of ways to handle this, and in my opinion Muschamp’s reaction was the worst. Then, when Orr returned to Gainesville and apologized, Muschamp simply says that there is nothing he can do to rejoin the team. I do subscribe to the thinking that these young men are teenagers and can make bad decisions. Sometimes they need guidance and mentoring. Good thing Foley didn’t take the same approach with Muschamp after his dismal performance as a coach.

    • Dave Massey says:

      Orr’s letter was hardly an act of contrition. It was more a further slap in the face to the team he fricking deserted as a fifth year senior on game day for game eight. Teenager, hardly, he’s 22 or 23 yo and has a college degree already. This is not the first or the second issue Orr has had. He acted immature and he created the confrontation and made an unacceptable demand. Start me or I’m leaving, wah, wah, wah, goodbye to the two year old attitude. Put it squarely on Orr’s shoulder where it belongs.

    • senuod says:

      If you read Orr’s letter, it appears that Muschamp has spoken with Orr several times about putting in the work and working on ONLY the things you can control as a player, and the rest will work itself out. Orr forgot some of the very same principles he spoke of being taught in his letter. He expected to start because he was a 5th year senior with production, at the exception of a player who may have produced better than he was.

      And Orr put himself on that bus. No one told him to leave and it’s not Muschamp’s job to beg him to stay. Muschamp told him, “If you leave, you are off the team.” That is Muschamp telling him NOT to leave. Orr made his decision.

      I like everything I’ve seen out of the kid before this incident, but this is simply the only reaction Muschamp could have had. Every incident is an example to the next kid. If Orr had one more year of eligibility, maybe Muschamp would let him back on the team the following season, but he doesn’t. He’s a 5th year senior who only had 4 more games to play and he blew it out of too much pride.

      If Muschamp did let him back on the team, he would HAVE to suspend him for SEVERAL games….which would be the same thing as kicking him off the team. He forced the Coach’s hand, and his letter forced the issue even more. It was not an apology, it was a justification.

      I truly feel for the kid, but he did this to himself. He was warned…and he left.

  16. DJ Chemist says:

    Mistakes were made, hopefully his wounds can heal and the scars will fade. Ask Dante Fowler if he felt Leon quit on his team. There is one silver lining to this and it’s the #freeleon 😉

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