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.
» The New York Jets finally decided to bench quarterback Mark Sanchez after a five-turnover performance on Monday night. Despite the fact that Tim Tebow had been Sanchez’s back-up all season long, the team decided to promote third-stringer Greg McElroy to starter, leapfrogging Tebow and breaking a promise the team made to him when they traded for him in the offseason. When Denver was shopping Tebow and had equal offers from New York and Jacksonville, the player evaluated the situation to determine which would be his best destination. Sources close to the player told me at the time that Tebow chose the Jets for two reasons. New York told him that they would utilize him in a number of roles right away and that he would also get a legitimate chance to start for the Jets should Sanchez either be injured or benched. While the team did put him in occasionally as Wildcat quarterback and as a punt protector, he was barely used in the offense and never correctly. He was inactive the first time New York replaced Sanchez during a game and has now been jumped over by McElroy for the starting job this week.
» Sports Illustrated’s Peter King summed up the situation well Wednesday on Twitter: “I think what happened w/ Jets is they saw Tebow have some bad practices, then he wasn’t electric on early touches, and they gave up on him.” Putting it another way was ESPN’s Ed Werder, who tweeted: “Jets traded 2 draft choices, paid Broncos part of Tebow’s signing bonus, ignored Bronco performances, never gave him chance” With all of that being true, ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor went off on the franchise in his latest column. “The Jets used Tebow, and then abused him,” he wrote. “They used him to sell tickets and PSLs and steal a few more headlines from the local big-boy franchise that had just won another Super Bowl title. They abused him Tuesday by declaring that a seventh-round pick who has been inactive for 13 out of 14 games gives the Jets a better chance to do something they fail to do: win.” O’Connor also looked to Tebow’s record, noting that he was 8-4 last season before falling to New England in the playoffs and is 9-7 in 16 career starts, which included three with an interim coach and did not include last year’s victory in Miami when he came in for Kyle Orton. “How is he less qualified to face San Diego than McElroy, who has one moderately successful relief appearance behind him and who has eternal backup written all over him?”
Check out NINE more Gator Bites…after the break!
» The question now is what happens to Tebow and his NFL career. The New York Daily News all but confirmed the report. Asked if he felt passed over for the job, Tebow said, “All you can ask for and all you want is a chance.” Asked if he got that chance, he replied, “Every opportunity you get you want to make the most of. I would’ve loved to have more of an opportunity to just play quarterback.” He brought it all together moments later when responding to a question about whether or not he would ask for a trade. “That’s something that we’ll talk about after the season,” he said. “We’ll look forward to it after the Buffalo game, talking about it.”
» Shortly after Tebow’s press conference, Yahoo! Sports reported that the Jets are equally interested in trading or releasing Tebow and “have no intention of bringing him back.” Whether or not they will find a trade partner remains to be seen, but a “high-ranking NFL personnel evaluator” told USA Today that he would not even have Tebow on his roster. “He attempts to play quarterback despite poor footwork, throwing platforms, release, timing, efficiency, progression, reads, anticipation, arm strength, accuracy and any other position-specific category you can think of,” the anonymous personnel man said. “God bless him for trying, but I wouldn’t touch him and would pass on the Jacksonville job if it forced me to take him.” He did give him a bit of credit though. “He won a playoff game. He can do some things, but it won’t be a conventional offense.”
» What else can go wrong for Tebow? According to an “exclusive” from US Weekly, the signal caller and actress Camilla Belle have “called it quits” after “less than two months of dating.” “It just didn’t work out,” a source told the magazine.
» The NFL has produced a five-minute feature for its biography series The NFL Season focused on centers Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Pouncey of the Miami Dolphins. It takes a look at how their young careers have unfolded, the close family ties that keep everyone together and the lengths their parents take to see their games.
» Someone called Tall Cathy form 96.1 KISS in Pittsburgh, PA interviewed Steelers running back Chris Rainey last month. It was a train wreck. Watch.
» Partially in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT and also because he is adamantly against gun violence, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has promised to holster the air-gun celebration he does after connecting on a jump shot. “You can’t joke around with things like that,” he said, according to NBA.com. “Too many people are dying because of guns. We have a problem here with guns. So [I’m] just trying to be a little bit compassionate about what’s going on.” He debuted his new celebration, which consists of him shaking his hands as if they’re hot, on Tuesday while posting just the second triple-double of his career. Noah registered 11 points, 13 rebounds and [a career-high-tying] 10 assists against Boston, once again proving that he should be a no-question selection for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
» He won a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics and had a fantastic senior season at Florida, but sprinter Tony McQuay on Wednesday between the second-straight former Gators athlete to come up short as a finalist for The Bowerman, the most prestigious collegiate award for track & field. McQuay was one of three finalists for the men’s award, which was won by Cam Levins of Southern Utah. Former Florida jumper Christian Taylor was a finalist in 2011 and also lost out on the award.
» Former Gators catcher Brian Jeroloman has never played in an MLB game despite spending time on the Toronto Blue Jays active roster last season. After jumping around the waiver wire this offseason, Jeroloman learned Wednesday that he had been picked up by the Cleveland Indians and signed to a minor league contract.
» Five-star small forward Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL) will make his college decision at 4 p.m. on Thursday and is set to choose between BYU, Duke, Florida and Michigan State. Though BYU does appear to be out of it, the other three programs all feel confident about their chances in landing the second-ranked player in the nation. Gators assistant coach Rashon Burno watched Parker play last week, and head coach Billy Donovan was in Chicago on Monday to watch Parker play and participate in an in-home visit with his parents. Though Parker’s father said last week he believed the battle was down to Duke and Michigan State, he and the family have since backed away from those comments. Both schools have been in to visit Parker recently and no one locally seems to know what he is going to do. The Chicago Sun-Times did point out, however, that turning down Duke is something that has seemingly never been done by a player from Parker’s area. “Not that I know of. I have never seen anyone [from Chicago] being offered by Duke and not going,” said Robert Smith, Parker’s high school coach.