FOUR BITS: Tebow, Wuerffel, Winslow, Culpepper

1 » Offers are coming in fast and furious for quarterback Tim Tebow – just not from NFL teams. Last week an AFL team, the L.A. KISS, offered Tebow a three-year contract that could be “worth millions” Yes, the KISS are owned by the band of the same name. No, Tebow will not be playing there. Also an unlikely destination for Tebow is Russia, though he did receive an offer of $1 million to play two games with the Moscow Black Storm. “We have offered him $1 million for two games,” team owner Mikhail Zaitsman told Russia Beyond the Headlines. “I talked with him personally and he wanted to go.” Well, yes and no. “[Tebow’s agents are] thinking of using him as a motivational speaker. They don’t want him to play football,” Zaitsman admitted.

What Tebow has actually been doing as of late is working out in Southern California. He first spotted outside a USC gym on Sept. 10 and was then captured on film throwing on a baseball field just days later. Videos at the bottom of this post. A friend of OnlyGators.com spotted Tebow at a Los Angeles, CA, restaurant Wednesday evening. Tebow has not spoken with the media since being released.

2 » The Florida Gators officially announced Thursday that former quarterback Danny Wuerffel will serve as the honorary Mr. Two Bits ahead of Saturday’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Wuerffel, who OnlyGators.com first reported will be honored at the game for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, is the second former player to serve in this role after running back Errict Rhett did fantastic job prior to the season opener against Toledo. Check out OnlyGators.com’s interview with Wuerffel from Aug. 29 and conversation with Rhett following his performance.

UF writer Scott Carter spoke with the real and original Mr. Two Bits, George Edmonson, who said he approves of the new tradition. “That’s great,” he said. “I was pleased to hear about it. They wanted to check with me before they did it and I told them I think that’s a great idea. I feel honored that some of these celebrities would portray me out there on the field before the game.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Tebow, Wuerffel, Winslow, Culpepper

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Gator Bites for Thursday, May 10

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.

» Defensive lineman Brad Culpepper on Wednesday became the second former Florida Gators player in the last three weeks to join lawsuit against the NFL. Culpepper is the lead plaintiff one of two concussion lawsuits (Brad Culpepper et al v. NFL) filed by the Locks Law Firm against the NFL. “The lawsuits are identical to the other suits filed by Gene Locks, asserting counts of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, loss of consortium and seeking declaratory relief and medical monitoring,” according to Paul Anderson. Former Florida offensive tackle Lomas Brown is part of a separate suit against the NFL that cites the recent bounty scandal as evidence that the league did not properly protect its players from concussions.

» Former Gators running back Emmitt Smith admitted this week that, while he appears to be in perfect health now, he is worried that all of the hits he took over his football-playing career may come back to haunt him both physically and mentally in the future. “The evidence is starting to pile up. You are talking to a guy who carried the ball more than anybody in NFL history. So why wouldn’t I worry? I pray about it,” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He also spoke about the tragic death of Junior Seau and reuniting with some of his former Dallas Cowboys teammates.

» Former Florida linebacker Dustin Doe has been re-signed by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL after appearing in just three games for the team last season. Doe registered two tackles each on defense and special teams in 2011 but spent the majority of the season on the practice squad. He is hoping to become a permanent member of the active roster this season as he attempts to continue his career.

» Speaking of players looking for new homes, it appears as if defensive tackle Marcus Thomas will be donning a different uniform in 2012. After spending the first six years of his career with the Denver Broncos, Thomas will be moving on to what he hopes are greener pastures, according to The Denver Post, which reports that it is unlikely Denver re-signs him this season. A selection in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Thomas has been a productive member of the Broncos throughout his career. However, Denver only wants to bring him back on a one-year deal while Thomas is looking for a multi-year agreement. The Post notes that at least two other teams are interested in Thomas’s services but will likely wait until after June 1 to sign him to a contract.

Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Thursday, May 10

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FOUR BITS: Haslem wins bet, Tebow’s choice?

1 » Teammates with the Miami Heat, power forward Udonis Haslem and guard Dwyane Wade made a friendly wager on Thursday night’s Sweet 16 match-up between the No. 7-seed Florida Gators and No. 3-seed Marquette Golden Eagles. Florida defeated Marquette 68-58 in Phoenix, AZ to advance to the Elite Eight; therefore, Wade will have to put a Gators license plate on his car for a year. You can watch Haslem and Wade discuss their bet in the clip below courtesy of WSVN 7.

The trash talking continued Friday, according to the Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. Wade has already ordered the Gators license plate and will put it on the back of one of his cars; Haslem is trying to get him to put it on a new McClaren MP4-12C (price tag $230,000) that he received for his birthday. “Oh, he’s got to drive that,” Haslem told Winderman. “There’s no way, there’s no way he can’t drive a McClaren. It’s like a million-dollar car, too. I mean who’s putting that in a garage?” Haslem piled it on when the team met for practice on Friday. “U.D. made sure he made his mark,” forward LeBron James told the paper. “He came in with the Gator fight song this morning, played it on the bus, and he’s probably going to mess [with it] through the whole week.”

2 » Despite the fact that he was traded for to be a back-up quarterback and change-of-pace player, New York Jets signal caller Tim Tebow “sees a clear path to resuming his career as a starter” and supplanting Mark Sanchez, sources told the New York Daily News. That is perhaps the main reason why Tebow said going to New York over returning to Jacksonville (where most of his family and friends reside) was his preference. “They want me to come in and compete and get better as a quarterback and help the team any way possible,” Tebow said in a teleconference following his trade. “Whatever that role is, I will do my best. Every time I step on the field, I give my heart and soul.” The Daily News also notes that Tebow did not have the ability to pull the trigger on his destination, which is how both his and Denver Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway’s stories blend together.

The Broncos didn’t come to Tebow in the end and say: Okay Tim, where do you want to go? They had already solicited his opinion. [...] Tebow was impressed the Jets hung in there when it looked like the deal was falling apart: It convinced him how much the Jets wanted him. [...] Ultimately, Tebow felt the love coming from the Jets.

3 » Florida basketball was also well-represented Thursday night by Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, who registered team-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds to register the first double-double of his young career. Houston defeated Golden State 109-83 as Parsons saw 39 minutes of court time (eight more than the next Rockets player) and went 8-for-16 from the field (2-for-4 from downtown). He added four assists to his total and finished with a plus-minus of +21 in the game. Following the contest, Parsons spoke to NBA TV in an interview you can watch by clicking here.

4 » Former Gators defensive tackle Brad Culpepper recently told Orlando, FL radio that, while he was playing in the NFL, he was coached up on how to injure quarterbacks. “We practiced techniques to injure players,” he admitted. “We would dive on a mat and aim for the knee portion of a pad like it was the quarterback, and we would practice going at that and trying to bust the quarterback’s knee. You knock the quarterback out, you win the game. [...] We practiced on interceptions – we didn’t care where the ball was – we were making a bee-line to wherever the quarterback was.” Read more or listen to the interview by clicking here.

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FOUR Tebow BITS: destinations, future, Hoge

1 » Despite ESPN presenting a narrative in which a team would only be interested in quarterback Tim Tebow at the behest of their owner and not the football operations department, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King believes there will (or at least should) be plenty of organizations interested in the former Heisman Trophy winner. According to King, Buffalo and Miami should be the two teams most interested in Tebow for the variety of ways in which they can use him aside from being a starter. King also thinks that Green Bay, New England and Baltimore (teams with strong coaches and front offices) could utilize Tebow in a similar fashion while also helping him improve as a quarterback. He also believes that the Denver Broncos should just keep Tebow, though obviously that is not a sentiment the organization or its power structure shares in any way, shape or form. “I do not join the chorus of the Tim Tebow Is Worthless Club. In the right situation, I would really want Tebow on my team,” he wrote. “I think he’s a valuable piece on a winning team, even if I’m skeptical he can ever be a long-term NFL starter.”

2 » Monica Culpepper, the wife of former Florida Gators defensive tackle Brad Culpepper and a recent contestant on CBS’s Survivor, recently told 970-WFLA radio that Tebow conveyed to her his desire to return to playing football in the state of Florida. “Brad and I just had dinner with Tim last week, and I don’t think this comes as a shock or surprise to him that Manning was actually going to go there,” she said. “And in all honesty, Tim said, ‘I miss home. I miss the South. And hopefully I’ll land somewhere in Florida.’ I sure hope Jacksonville takes him because he’s such a great kid, such a good player.”

3 » Other destinations that have also been mentioned as potential suitors for Tebow include Jacksonville, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Tampa Bay. A report from ESPN at 3 p.m. on Tuesday noted that Green Bay, Jacksonville, Miami and the New York Jets “have discussed a trade for Tim Tebow.” However, word out of North Florida is that returning home is not likely to be an option for Tebow as the front office is not interested in his talent regardless of what the owner thinks. Additionally, the Miami Herald‘s Armando Salguero shut the door on his local team, tweeting Tuesday afternoon that, “The Dolphins at this time have zero intention of pursuing Tim Tebow.”

4 » After absolutely bashing Tebow for a year and sounding off on him quite decidedly last August, ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge offered an extensive and (what sounded like a) sincere mea culpa about the second-year signal caller in an interview with ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning on Dec. 12. Just over three months later, Hoge has reversed course again on Tebow, going so far as to insult him as part of a list of quotes the network released to the press following Manning’s decision on Monday. “The more I studied him in an NFL setting, the more disturbed I was that he has no clue what he’s looking at,” Hoge said. “His IQ as a football player is not very good. That is why they have to come down and make it some of a college-form system that he’s comfortable with in Florida. He can’t execute, from a cerebral aspect, a pro-style system.”

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Tim Tebow takes home 2009 Campbell Trophy

Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow was awarded the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the “Academic Heisman Trophy,” by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The trophy is awarded annually to a college graduate for their outstanding ability on the field, work in the classroom (minimum 3.2 GPA) and strong leadership. The honor comes with a bronze trophy and $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

“This award means so much because it’s not just how you play on the field, it’s not just what you do in the classroom, but it’s what you do as a leader and someone who is going to serve your community,” Tebow said. “That’s what’s most important about this award, because all these guys are great players and they’re extremely intelligent, but more importantly, they’re good people. They help their community and they make a difference in this world. The National Football Foundation has done such a good job of taking us in, putting us together and letting us build relationships with each other. With so many of the members, it has been a blessing to get to know all these guys, great guys who you see on the field, but then when you really meet them, you get to know them as people, you get to build those relationships. I think that’s what’s so special about things like this.”

One of only four schools to have multiple winners of the trophy, previous Gators recipients include defensive tackle Brad Culpepper (1991) and quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1996). Center Mike Degory (2005) and long snapper James Smith (2008) were semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy, while quarterback Chris Leak was a finalist in 2006. Florida has the most recipients of any school in the award’s 20-year existence.

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Prized five-star Gators safety commitment Matt Elam received two prestigious honors over the last few days. On Thursday, Elam was named the 2009 Gatorade Football Player of the Year for the state of Florida while on Tuesday he was honored as 2009 Lou Groza Award winner for Outstanding High School Football Player. Elam is the first back-to-back winner of the award (2008).

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