FOUR BITS: Pounceys, Purifoy, Driskel, SEC

1 » Celebrating their birthday 11 days early at a club in Miami, FL, on Saturday night, former Florida Gators centers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey both wore an item of clothing that garnered some major media attention on Saturday. The Pouncey brothers (pictured below) sported “Free Hernandez” hats in the club, showing their support for former teammate Aaron Hernandez, who is currently jailed in Massachusetts facing six charges including first-degree murder. Reaction to the hats, first discovered by, has understandably included plenty of criticism for the Pounceys. While the brothers are close friends of Hernandez (Mike an ex-roommate), they are also public figures and (by proxy of being NFL players and first-round draft selections) role models for children. Asking for freedom for a man accused of murder, especially considering the circumstantial evidence against him (at this early stage) is strong, is not necessarily the smartest decision these soon-to-be 24-year-olds could have made. In a related note, the Pounceys along with numerous other former Gators spent a good portion of their weekend in Gainesville, FL, working out with current Florida players.

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
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Documents paint damning picture for Hernandez

More than 150 pages of documents stemming from eight search warrants were officially released by a Massachusetts judge on Tuesday as the state continues to build its case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez for the June shooting of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez, who remains locked up without bail on multiple charges including first degree murder, has allegedly been pegged by one of his associates as the triggerman in Lloyd’s shooting as noted in related documents released by the state of Florida.

According to the records obtained by the Associated Press, Hernandez admitted to Ernest Wallace, who is facing a charge of accessory after the fact of murder, that he pulled the trigger. This information was relayed via another Hernandez associate, Carlos Ortiz, who is also being investigated and expressed to Massachusetts police that Wallace told him Hernandez acknowledged that he shot Lloyd.

Considering both Ortiz and Wallace are believed to have been with Hernandez on the night and at the time Lloyd was shot – police contend they were all in the car together and also at the scene of the crime – Ortiz’s tale of the events that evening understandably sounds questionable.

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4 BITS: Hernandez, Raymond, Chiozza, Francis

1 » New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday spoke about former tight end Aaron Hernandez and how the “whole organization was duped” by him. Kraft told The Boston Globe that the Patriots knew Hernandez was “immature” but could never have guessed his character issues would lead to such a heinous crime. He also explained how, prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, Hernandez sent a letter to New England admitting to smoking marijuana while playing for the Florida Gators and promising he would “willfully” submit to bi-weekly drug tests as a rookie with a promise to return portions of his salary if he tested positive and was suspended. “I realize this offer is somewhat unorthodox, but it is also the only way I could think of to let you know how serious I am about reaching my potential in the NFL,” Hernandez wrote.

A screen shot of EA Sports’ NCAA Football 14 video game, featuring Hernandez as an NCAA Ultimate Team unlockable item, made its way around the internet on Monday. EA Sports has since announced that Hernandez will be removed from the game “via a Title Update in the near future.” Hernandez will also be taken out of Madden NFL 25.

2 » Former Gators tennis star Lisa Raymond‘s bid to win her 12th Grand Slam title fell just short on Sunday when she dropped a mixed doubles match 5-7, 6-2, 8-6 in the finals of the 2013 Wimbledon. Raymond, the defending mixed doubles champion at Wimbledon, has already won five career Grand Slam mixed doubles titles to go along with six women’s doubles titles.

Read two more Florida Gators news BITS (three videos) after the break!
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Urban Meyer: Florida did not enable Hernandez

Updated on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Five days after refusing to speak about tight end Aaron Hernandez, former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer sent a series of text messages to The Columbus Dispatch (and other media outlets) in an effort to tell his side of the story.

According to Meyer, reports about Hernandez’s time at Florida have been exaggerated. He claims that Hernandez did not fail multiple drug tests – as was initially reported shortly after the New England Patriots selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft – and that his family and everyone involved with the Gators did whatever they could to help put him on the right path.

“I just received an e-mail from a friend where there is an accusation of multiple failed drug tests by Hernandez covered up by [the University] of Florida or the coaching staff. This is absolutely not true. Hernandez was held to the same drug testing policy as every other player.

“He was an athlete at Florida 4-7 years ago and there are some comments being made that are not correct. Our staff, myself and our families worked very hard to mentor and guide him.

”Prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. Relating or blaming these serious charges to [the University] of Florida, myself or our staff is wrong and irresponsible.”

Now the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Meyer has taken plenty of heat over the last two weeks for Hernandez after he was charged with first degree murder following a shooting in North Attleboro, MA.

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FOUR BITS: USA Basketball, Tebow, Hernandez

1 » Rookie left-handed pitcher Alex Wood has been getting hazed by his Atlanta Braves teammates since being promoted to the majors. One tactic his teammates are using to embarrass Wood is forcing him to carry a plush Florida Gators backpack out to the bullpen when he warms up. “His fellow relievers brought as much attention to the prank as they could,” explains, “making Wood lead the group into the outfield and taking turns playing with the snout of the plush gator mascot on the back of the backpack.” The former Georgia standout only faced Florida twice during his three years in college with the Gators beating him both times.

2 » By defeating Serbia 71-62 on Wednesday, USA Basketball earned the No. 1 overall seed in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and will open up the bracket portion of the event on Friday at 2:15 p.m. when the Americans take on their neighbors to the north, Canada. Florida rising sophomore guard Michael Frazier II barely saw the court in the United States’ last game, playing only the final 1:37 of the first half and not leaving the bench in the second half. Head coach Billy Donovan did not sit Frazier without good reason; he had shot 8-of-36 (.222) from downtown in the first five games. has picked up the quarterfinals of the event and will air the Americans’ showdown with the Canadians at 2:15 p.m. on Friday.

3 » Green Bay Packers rookie running back Jonathan Franklin was born in Los Angeles, CA, and attended UCLA but did not name a Californian his role model when asked during an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I Love Tim Tebow because of his spiritual walk,” Franklin explained. “Through all that he’s been through he still stays strong in his walk and that’s very encouraging. My pastor and my mom (Pamela) have also been great role models for me.”

Check out Aaron Hernandez murder investigation updates…after the break.
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Hernandez, Nelson named in 2007 shooting report

ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Wednesday took a closer look at a 2007 shooting in Gainesville, FL, in which former Florida Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez was questioned after a “source with knowledge of the [Odin Lloyd] murder investigation” told ABC News that Massachusetts authorities have reached out to the Gainesville Police Department “in hopes of determining if Hernandez had any role” in the incident.

In response to ESPN’s report, the GPD announced via press release that it is “aware that members of the national media are reporting” on the incident but noted that the media obtained a police report “from sources outside of the Department” because the GPD “has not released any incident report concerning this case due to it being an open criminal investigation.” Furthermore, the GDP refuted ABC News and denied being contacted by “any other law enforcement agency about the incident.”

However, one hour later, the GPD updated its press release to explain that the police report in question “was released inadvertently” after “a public records request was made by ESPN and fulfilled in error by a clerk.” The GPD subsequently made the report available to the public, noting that it is incomplete because “there are still detective supplements outstanding because it is classified as an open criminal investigation.”

Below are the pertinent details from the police report, many of which were first released by ESPN in its Wednesday report:

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Hernandez nearly arrested at Florida in 2007

The Wall Street Journal on Monday uncovered a 2007 police report showing that the Gainesville Police Department nearly arrested former Florida Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez on felony battery charges before he ever stepped on the field for the team.

According to a police report from April 28, 2007, a 17-year-old Hernandez was served two “alcoholic drinks” by a waitress at The Swamp, finished the drinks and then refused to pay the bill because he claimed he had never ordered them in the first place.

A “verbal altercation” between Hernandez and a then-restaurant employee escalated when the two stepped outside of the establishment. “Hernandez told police [Michael] Taphorn ‘got in his face’ and began yelling at him,” reports the WSJ. “As Taphorn turned to walk away, Hernandez punched him in the side of the head – a fact Hernandez did not dispute.”

Two witnesses, one of whom was quarterback Tim Tebow, told police that Taporn “was being irrational and was getting in [Hernandez’s] face,” according to an incident report obtained by

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6 BITS: Speights, Hernandez, Calathes, Robinson

1 » Former Florida Gators center Marreese Speights declined his 2013-14 player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will test free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Speights, who would have earned $4.515 million from the Cavaliers had he exercised his option, will likely join his fourth team in six NBA seasons unless he is signed by Cleveland, Memphis or Philadelphia, which selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Speights was traded on Jan. 22 to the Cavaliers where he averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

2 » The prosecution in the State of Massachusetts’ case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now of the belief that all three men involved in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd are now in custody, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter said in a statement. Ernest Wallace, 41, turned himself into Miramar, FL, police on Friday after seeing his name on the news. Investigators are now focused on finding the murder weapon as they continue to piece together a case that is based on Hernandez being the lone shooter.

RELATED: Aaron Hernandez charged with first degree murder

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
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