Florida Gators football’s tumultuous offseason

The 2013 offseason started out relatively calm and normal for the Florida Gators football program with some players deciding to leave school early to play professionally and others choosing to try their luck at another university. Suddenly, starting on Jan. 10, a string of arrests, poor decisions, injuries and negative headlines began taking over the spring and summer for the Gators. Below is a timeline* of one of the most bizarre and controversial offseasons in Florida football history.

* While all of the news below was sour for Florida or its players in one way or another, obviously some of the occurrences (arrests, suspensions) are significantly more egregious than others (players transferring, coaches leaving). The standout, headline-making stories that either painted the program in a negative light or were exceptionally newsworthy during the summer are highlighted in red.

Luckily for Gators fans, with fall practice officially opening on Friday and the 2013 college season exactly one month away, the offseason is now over.

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Bengals ink DE Dunlap to new six-year contract

Updated on Saturday, July 20 at 3 p.m.

The Cincinnati Bengals and former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap came to terms Monday on a brand new six-year contract that includes $40 million in base salary alone, according to Pro Football Talk.

Instead of earning just $630,000 in base salary on the final year of his rookie deal, he will earn $20 million between now and the conclusion of the 2014 season.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Joe Ready, Dunlap already received an $8 million signing bonus and will tack on $1.3 million in base salary for 2013. He will also pick up an additional $3.7 million when he reports to training camp this year and $5.7 million more as a roster bonus if he remains with the team on March 31, 2014.

Dunlap is also due a $300,000 annually via workout bonus and annual salaries of $1 million in 2014, $3 million in 2015, $4.05 million in 2016, $5.05 million in 2017 and $6.7 million in 2018. He can earn an additional $4.5 million in escalators.

A first-round talent who slipped to the second round and became the No. 54 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft due to some maturity concerns following a DUI arrest prior to the 2009 SEC Championship, Dunlap left Florida as a junior and came on strong during his rookie season in Cincinnati.

He registered 8.5 sacks in the final six games of the 2010 campaign and finished with 9.5 takedowns that year. Dunlap has been unable to duplicate that pass rushing success, totaling 10.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but he did force four fumbles (recovering three) in 2012 while also grabbing his first career interception and returning it 14 yards for a touchdown.

At just 24 years old, Dunlap’s ceiling remains high, and he is on the way to earning a full-time starting role with the Bengals.

Dunlap won OnlyGators.com’s NFL Player of the Week award four times in 2012, tied for second-most among Gators in the league last season.

He is the second former Florida player to sign a lucrative six-year contract in this offseason as wide receiver Percy Harvin inked a $67 million deal after being traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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SIX BITS: WNBA, Parsons, Dunlap, Starks, Wuerffel

1 » The 2013 WNBA season opens this week with two former Florida Gators players and two more former coaches spread across the league. Forward DeLisha Milton-Jones will be entering her 15th season as a professional but first with the San Antonio Silver Stars. Guard Aneika Henry joins the Atlanta Dream for her second season after averaging 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting .468 as a rookie in 2012. Former Florida head coach Carol Ross returns to the same position with the Los Angeles Sparks, and former Gators head coach Mickie DeMoss comes back as an assistant with the Indiana Fever. Gators center Jennifer George, who was selected in the third round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Fever, is not on the team’s roster.

2 » Second-year Houston Rockets F Chandler Parsons was asked to prom by a high schooler named Stephanie Flores in May. Though he had to decline her invitation as he was not in Houston, TX at the time, Parsons ensured that the student and her friends had a great time. He and the Rockets sent a party bus to escort Flores and her friends to and from the event, leading her to take the picture below.

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: WNBA, Parsons, Dunlap, Starks, Wuerffel

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SIX BITS: NFL, Rainey, Beal, Rosario, track

1 » In addition to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey (who is expected to be released from his contract) and Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson (a restricted free agent), six other former Florida Gators currently under contract with NFL teams will be unrestricted free agents the day after the Super Bowl. Those players include Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Louis Murphy, Kansas City Chiefs LB Brandon Siler, Oakland Raiders guard Cooper Carlisle, Pittsburgh tackle Max Starks and Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman.

On rosters for Super Bowl XLVII are San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald and Baltimore Ravens WR Deonte Thompson. The end result and may very well come down to which quarterback stands out and makes as few mistakes as possible.

2 » Speaking of Rainey, the former Gators running back had his recent simple battery charge reduced to disorderly conduct by Alachua County Judge Walter Green after the State Attorney’s Office decided it did not have enough evidence to pursue the more serious offense. The judge withheld adjudication and fined Rainey $200 to go along with court costs of $300 for the offense, effectively ending the legal issue, according to Florida Today. The alleged victim in the case denied that Rainey hit her the day after his arrest and contradicting statements from witnesses made the state’s case inconclusive. The Steelers announced the day of Rainey’s arrest that they had decided to waive him; however, NFL transactions made during the postseason cannot be completed until after the Super Bowl. With the charges being significantly reduced, Pittsburgh could theoretically have a change of heart or consider bringing Rainey back on a cheaper free agent contract.

Check out four more BITS of Gators news…after the break!
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Wildcard (2012)

The 2012-13 NFL Playoffs began over the weekend with 13 former Florida Gators football players spread over eight of 12 teams participating in postseason action.

At the conclusion of play on Sunday there were nine total players that advanced to the Divisional round on six of the eight teams hoping to earn a berth in Super Bowl XLVII.

A total of three players participated in Wild Card action with three others listed as inactive.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the first week of the 2012-13 postseason.

ACTIVE (3)
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: 10 tackles (nine solo, two for loss) [team-highs], QB hit [Player of the Week]
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles (two solo), QB hit
OL MAURICE HURT, Washington Redskins: Played as a reserve

BYE (7) / INACTIVE (3) / INJURED (1)
LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Playoff bye
WR DEONTE THOMPSON*, Baltimore Ravens: Inactive
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Denver Broncos: Playoff bye
DE JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Playoff bye
RB JEFF DEMPS*, New England Patriots Playoff bye / Injured
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Playoff bye
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Playoff bye
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Playoff bye
DT JAYE HOWARD*, Seattle Seahawks: Inactive
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: Inactive

NFL PLAYOFFS NOTES
– Dunlap, Nelson, Grossman and Hurt saw their teams eliminated from the postseason.
– Eight former Gators remain on rosters of teams that advanced to the Divisional round, which will be held from Jan. 12-13.
– Match-ups include Baltimore (Thompson) at Denver (Caldwell) & Green Bay at San Francisco (McDonald) on Saturday, Seattle (Howard) at Atlanta (Peterson) & Houston at New England (Cunningham, Hernandez, Spikes) on Sunday.

* Rookie

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 17 (2012)

At the conclusion of the 2012 NFL regular season there were 31 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 27 players participated in week 17 action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the last week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two tackles (one solo for loss), sack, two QB hits, pass defense, interception (14-yard return) for touchdown [Video]^

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 16 (2012)

Now 16 weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season, there are 31 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 21 players participated in week 16 action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the 16th week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Three solo tackles, interception [Video], two pass defenses^
CB JANORIS JENKINS*, St. Louis Rams: Six solo tackles, interception returned for touchdown (41 yards) [Video], pass defense^

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 15 (2012)

Now 15 weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season, there are 31 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 23 players participated in week 15 action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the 15th week of the 2012 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: 10 receptions [team-high] for 92 yards (targets: 19 [team-high], long: 20), touchdown [Video]; solo tackle^

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 15 (2012)

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