4 BITS: Spikes pleads guilty, Gators in NBA

1 » Former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident that occurred on a highway in Massachusetts on June 7. Spikes, who was released the very next day by the New England Patriots and remains an NFL free agent one month later, was issued one year of probation along with fines and the loss of his driver’s license, according to WBZ 1030 News Radio. Putting the issue to bed was important for Spikes, who should wind up on a team at some point this offseason. While limited, he is still at least a two-down contributor as one of the highest-graded run-stopping linebackers in the league.

2 » Giving Gators point guard Nick Calathes the opportunity to play in the NBA after the player started his career overseas, the Memphis Grizzlies continue to make a concerted effort to hold on to the reserve floor general. The Grizzlies decided to make Calathes a qualifying offer, turning him into a restricted free agent and allowing Memphis the right to match any offer sheet he may sign with a team. Though rumors have Calathes interested in going back overseas for significantly more money and a greater role on a team, he has not given any indication that he plans to leave the United States at this time.

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4 NFL BITS: Brandon Spikes charged with four counts after leaving scene of car accident

1 » Massachusetts State Police announced Friday that it has been determined that the Mercedes Maybach sedan owned by former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes was not only driven by Spikes the night it got into an accident but hit another car rather than a deer as he told the OnStar operator that responded to the crash. As such, Spikes will be charged with four courts by the state: leaving the scene of a personal injury crash, operating a motor vehicle negligently to endanger, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes. The New England Patriots, which had signed Spikes to a one-year deal in the offseason, cut him the same day the initial report of his car being involved in an accident was released.

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FOUR BITS: Patriots LB Brandon Spikes released after his car was found abandoned in a crash

1 » One day after it was reported by FOX 25 out of Boston that a Maybach Mercedes registered to New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was found abandoned on the median of a highway, the former Florida Gators player was released by the team. According to FOX 25, The OnStar representative from the car “told state police the driver of the care reported hitting a deer.” However, while an injured deer was not found near the scene, another car called in that it was rear ended at approximately the same time as the crash involving Spikes’s car. Spikes signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Patriots (with up to $1 million in incentives), returning to the team that drafted him after spending a season with the Buffalo Bills. His original tenure did not end well in New England, despite his close relationship with owner Bob Kraft, and his return to the franchise was a surprise. If this story sounds relatively familiar that is a vehicle belonging to former Miami Dolphins LB Channing Crowder was also abandoned on a highway in January 2008.

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Florida Gators react on Twitter to the murder conviction of former tight end Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end with the Florida Gators, was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday by a jury of his peers in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Reaction was immediate from Hernandez’s former teammates with the Gators, who expressed their shock and concern for Hernandez on social media.

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4 BITS: April Fools, Speights, McDonald, Spikes

1 » The Florida Gators pulled off an elaborate April Fools’ Day hoax on Wednesday – not that anyone was actually fooled, per se – by creating a “Freaky Friday Night Lights” campaign that included University of Florida president Kent Fuchs and head football coach Jim McElwain switching jobs after Fuchs supposedly exercised an unknown clause in his university contract.


The video is good. What really sent the “prank” home was the president and coach changing their respective Twitter profiles and the men, plus the players involved in the video, all playing along. And fun was had by all. Considering there is a Florida football practice this afternoon, though, maybe Fuchs will actually open up and provide some details on what exactly the Gators will be doing offensively this season.

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Former Florida Gators LB Brandon Spikes: ‘I’ve already set my watch: it’s Tebow time.’

While discussing his free agency during an interview Wednesday on NFL Network, former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes did not parse words when asked whether quarterback Tim Tebow would succeed if given another chance in the NFL.

“I love Tim Tebow. I love Tim Tebow. He’s a great person, and I think he’s a great quarterback. He gets the job done, and at the end of the day, he wins,” Spikes said. “Given the opportunity, I think he’ll go out there and perform.

“I’ve already set my watch: it’s Tebow time.”

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2 BITS: SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Miller, Hernandez

1 » The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 announced Thursday that the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which began last season, will undergo a significant format change. Instead of being 10 games played over three days in the fall, it will now be 10 games played in one day early in the spring. That date has been set for next season with all 10 games tipping off on Saturday, January 30, 2016, though match-ups have not yet been determined at this time. “Moving the Big 12/SEC Challenge later in the season will raise the profile of this event and give our coaches, student-athletes and fans the attention that it deserves,” said Mike Slive, the SEC’s commissioner. The 10 games will all be played on ESPN networks with the four SEC teams not given match-ups going head-to-head against each other on the SEC Network that day.

The Florida Gators wound up playing a home-and-home series against Kansas in the first two iterations of the event, hosting the Jayhawks last season and travelling to Lawrence, Kansas, this fall. Florida is expected to host an SEC/Big 12 Challenge game in 2015-16, though renovations to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center would have proved that difficult if the game was played during its previously-scheduled window. Whether the event was moved to help accommodate UF remains to be seen, but the scheduling adjustment was not just made for next season but for the duration of the event’s existence.

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 16 & 17

The 2014 NFL regular season concluded this week with 36 former Florida Gators spread out over 20 of the 32 teams in the league.

Twelve teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three each); and Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 26 players (16 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 16th week of the regular season as well as the same information for all 29 players (15 starters^) that were active in Week 17.

Eight former Gators advanced to the postseason. Florida is represented on seven of the 12 teams that moved on to the 2014 NFL Playoffs.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (16)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Started | five receptions for 53 yards (target: 7, long: 16), two touchdowns

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (16)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (17)
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Started | three solo tackles, pass defense, interception (-4 yard return)

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (17)

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

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