FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Haslem, Wright, Hodskins

1 » His behavior in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal taken into consideration, former Florida Gators center Mike Pouncey remains in the Miami Dolphins future plans, according to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, who reported Friday that the team is “committed” to Pouncey and plans in May to pick up a team option to keep him in Miami for a fifth season in 2015. Pouncey is set to earn $1.63 million in 2014 and will likely want to renegotiate his contract after the Dolphins pick up their option. This in theory would give the team a full season to evaluate Pouncey’s behavior off of the field and give them more data to decide whether or not signing him to a huge deal would be a wise long-term investment. “Pouncey is an excellent player,” new Miami general manager Dennis Hickey said on the radio Thursday. “I’ve had good conversations with him in the last month. I’m excited about the future.”

2 » Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem is playing the fewest minutes of his career, shooting career-lows from the field and charity stripe and barely making an impact on the court for the defending champions, but his selflessness, relationship with the franchise and impact in the locker room all kept him off the trading block this season. According to Dan LeBatard, Miami rejected a trade offer from Philadelphia that included Evan Turner even though Turner would have been able to give the Heat an extra scorer off the bench, help their title chances this season and save the team $4.62 million against the luxury cap next season. By doing so, Miami is showing considerable loyalty to Haslem, who sacrificed more than $10 million in salary as a free agent in 2010 to sign with his hometown team (where he has played since 2003) rather than move elsewhere. The undrafted free agent out of Florida is a three-time NBA champion with the Heat (2006, 2012-13) and Miami’s all-time leading rebounder.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Haslem, Wright, Hodskins

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4 BITS: Bostic, Evans, Hernandez, Calathes, Noah

1 » A pair of season-ending injuries have resulted in big-time opportunities for a couple of former Florida Gators defenders as Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans appear to be in line to start the remainder of the season for their respective teams. Bostic, who was expected to push veteran D.J. Williams for playing time and the starting role this season, will replace him on the first string after Williams suffered what head coach Marc Trestman said Friday is likely a torn pectoral muscle. Evans will be stepping into the starting safety job in place of Dwight Lowery, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a severe concussion. He has already started two games for Jacksonville and should fill the role for the remainder of the season if not indefinitely.

2 » Aaron Hernandez remains in custody and charged with first-degree murder for the death of Odin Lloyd, but investigators have continued to seek separate charges for Hernandez stemming from a July 2012 double murder that has been connected to him and his associates. According to FOX 25 out of Boston, MA, an eyewitness to the 2012 drive-by shooting has fingered Hernandez as one of multiple men that pulled the trigger that night. The man claims to have been sitting in the middle of the back seat of the car that was shot upon. “Things happened so fast. I was just trying to defend myself,” the witness told the station. “They were shooting everywhere inside the car, front to back. They just came to kill. That’s it.” He said he realized one of the shooters was Hernandez after recognizing his face from it being plastered all over television recently. “When I see his face, I just recognize his face,” he said. “Compare his face that night to his face now. It’s that face I remember.”

Check out two more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 4 BITS: Bostic, Evans, Hernandez, Calathes, Noah

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Twitter reacts to Jon Bostic’s monster hit

Chicago Bears rookie middle linebacker Jon Bostic delivered one of the most devastating hits one will ever see on a football field during a preseason game on Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers.

Check out animated GIF (above) and video (below) of the massive tackle as well as reaction from some former and current Florida Gators. If a celebrity or athlete you follow tweeted about Bostic, please tweet or e-mail us.

Former Gators and Bears defensive end Alex Brown (@alexbrown96): “That dog gone Florida Gator is a MAN!!! 57 is gonna be just fine!!!”

Former DE, current ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley (@marcelluswiley): “BOSTIC!!! Just put some wood on Willie of the Chargers. My goodness! #Bears #Poundcake”

Miami Dolphins LB Jelani Jenkins (@jelanijenkins3): “My boy Bot just killed em”

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Evans (@JAY_E_9): “Wow my boy Bostic just Rocked my boy. Turn up #gogators”

Continue Reading » Twitter reacts to Jon Bostic’s monster hit

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Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: 7/28 – 8/4

The 2013 NFL regular season is exactly one month away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5.

More than three dozen former Florida Gators are currently working out with their respective teams and trying to either keep or earn roster spots for the upcoming year.

Below are select updates on some of these Gators for the second full week of training camp from July 28 to Aug. 4.

The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys squared off during the 2013 Hall of Fame Game, the first preseason game, in Canton, OH, on Sunday night.

RB MIKE GILLISLEE*, Miami Dolphins: Seven carries for 21 yards (long: 9)
LB JELANI JENKINS*, Miami Dolphins: Two tackles
C MIKE POUNCEY, Miami Dolphins: Started Hall of Fame Game
K CALEB STURGIS*, Miami Dolphins: Did not play – groin

QB TIM TEBOW, New England Patriots: Though cameras caught Tebow hauling in passes and protecting the ball in a drill last week, he will be nothing but a quarterback for the Patriots, according to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. “He’s just practicing his open-field running,” McDaniels said. “We know Tim has a skill set that some of these other guys don’t possess in terms of ability to run with it, scramble with it when he has it in his hands. … He’s put in a lot of time and effort to improve his individual skill set to play the position of quarterback in our offense, and I think every day is a learning tool for him.” Tebow has also received a nod from starter Tom Brady. “We have good conversations,” Brady said, according to the Associated Press. “He loves playing football and that’s usually the type of guys who do well here.”

Read updates on seven other former Gators…after the break!

Continue Reading » Gators in 2013 NFL training camps: 7/28 – 8/4

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FOUR BITS: Morrison, Wilbekin, Bears, Donovan

1 » Florida Gators sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison was released from Alachua County Jail on his own recognizance Monday, nearly 36 hours after he was arrested and charged with a first-degree misdemeanor for simple battery. Morrison, accused of punching a bouncer outside Kava Bar and Hookah Lounge at 1007 W. University Ave. on Sunday morning, is being represented by attorney Huntley Johnson. “At this point, he would enter a plea of not guilty,” Johnson told The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway after his client was released, “but we need to talk to witnesses [first].”

2 » Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, indefinitely suspended by head coach Billy Donovan on June 10 for a violation of team rules, will not be rejoining the program any time soon. “Right now, he needs to prove that he wants to be part of the team and that this is what he wants to do,” Donovan told Brockway on Monday. “He has to take care of responsibilities. At this point, I don’t really want to address any more about his status until the season starts in October. Hopefully this is something he can learn from.” Wilbekin was suspended at the start of the 2012-13 season for a similar violation of team rules; he missed three games but eventually returned to his role as Florida’s starting point guard. Wilbekin is currently barred from the team practice facility as part of his indefinite suspension.

Donovan also commented to Brockway on the status of a waiver that will be submitted to the NCAA by Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter, who is looking to play immediately for UF in 2013-14, and the academic eligibility of five-star power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL). Both are works in progress.

3 » NFL.com on Monday took a look at the five most underrated players in Chicago Bears history and included a pair of former Gators – defensive end Alex Brown (2002-09) and running back Neal Anderson (1986-93) – on the list. “Brown was the type of quiet, high-motor player defensive coordinators covet,” writes Alex Gelhar. “He was second on the team with seven sacks during the 2006 [Super Bowl] season, when he also intercepted two passes, forced three fumbles and batted down four other passes. Talk about productivity.” On Anderson, Gelhar notes: “Anderson took the reins after [Walter] Payton retired in 1988 and never looked back. Anderson rushed for more than 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns every year from 1988-1990, twice helping carry the Bears to the playoffs where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion.”

4 » ESPN.com’s Eamonn Brennan is currently in the middle of a 20-part series in which he is looking at the programs that have “produced the best pros in the modern draft era (since 1989, when the draft went from seven to two rounds).” Checking in at No. 11 on his list is Florida, which of course owes much of its success in preparing players for the NBA to Donovan. “He’s been as successful as any coach in the country, and in the process has elevated the Gators from a laughingstock to a program with as many solid current NBA players as any in the country,” writes Brennan.

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FOUR BITS: Harris, Brown, Tebow, Bostic, Noah

1 » Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp told the media on Monday that four-star safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL) and JUCO transfer offensive tackle Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, GA) have both enrolled in Summer A classes and therefore officially joined the football program. Both players were originally planning to enroll early in January but were not able to amass the necessary credits in time. Harris, the No. 67 overall 2013 prospect according to Rivals and the son of former Florida S Mike Harris (1994-97), will compete for playing time right away as the Gators look to replace two starters in the defensive backfield. Brown will have some work to do to prove he is deserving of immediate playing time but is expected to play as a reserve this season.

2 » If he wants to, quarterback Tim Tebow will be able to play football in 2013. Whether that is in the NFL is another topic altogether. Tebow, who has already received offers from the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes (to compete for a back-up job) and the AFL’s Orlando Predators (to compete for a starting job), has also been reached out to by the AFL’s Philadelphia Soul. Team co-owner Ron Jaworski, a former NFL quarterback who now works primarily as an NFL analyst for ESPN, told the Philadelphia Daily News that he has offered Tebow a roster spot. “I still haven’t heard back from him and I’m not going to push it,” he said. “If he decides he wants to play Arena Football, we’ll make a spot for him.” Jaworski added that the role would not be as a starting quarterback; rather, he and the Soul’s coach sent Tebow a list of plays he would run for the team should he accept the contract offer.

Check out two more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Harris, Brown, Tebow, Bostic, Noah

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Bears sign Gators LB Jon Bostic for four years

Updated: May 10 at 11:00 p.m.

Former Florida Gators linebacker Jon Bostic has signed a four-year, $3.941 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

The rookie’s agreement was officially announced by the team on Thursday, making Bostic the first of Florida’s eight draftees to come to terms with the team that selected him in April’s draft.

Bostic was chosen by the Bears with the No. 50 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was the third overall Gators player selected during the event and the first to have his name called (coincidentally by former Florida and Chicago running back Neal Anderson) on the second day of the three-day draft.

Bostic is the first Gators linebacker selected since Brandon Spikes (No. 62, 2010) and the 24th UF player drafted by the Bears in the history of the event.

He is the first Florida player to be picked by Chicago since safety Major Wright (No. 75, 2010), who is entering his fourth year with the franchise.

Bostic’s four-year rookie deal includes a $1.246 million signing bonus and $405,000 in first-year salary. He will earn $584,127 in 2014, $663,254 in 2015 and $842,381 in 2016 and will also be eligible for $100,000 workout bonuses in both 2015 and 2016.

Expected to compete immediately for the starting middle linebacker job, Bostic will be counted on to have a major impact on the Bears’ defense in 2013 even if he does not win the position. Chicago believes he can line up and start at all three linebacker spots.

“It’s really starting to sink in now,” Bostic told the team’s website. “It’s hard to believe that it’s all here. It’s something you dream about all your life as a kid and then all of a sudden you open your eyes this morning and it’s right in front of you.”

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Bears pick Gators LB Jon Bostic No. 50 overall in second round of 2013 NFL Draft

Round 2 – No. 50 (overall)
Jon Bostic, LB
Chicago Bears


Height: 6’1″ – Weight: 245 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Senior

When former Florida Gators running back Neal Anderson walked on the stage at Radio City Music Hall on Friday, he not only had the opportunity to announce the Chicago Bears’ next draft selection but also the next to come out of his alma mater as the team chose linebacker Jon Bostic with the No. 50 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

A three-year starter at Florida and the straw that stirred the drink for the Gators’ top 10-ranked defense, Bostic was highly-coveted by NFL front offices for his instinctiveness, tackling ability and high football IQ. He even erased concerns about his speed by running a 4.61-second 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. Quality recommendations from head coach Will Muschamp and his former defensive coordinator, Charlie Strong, also raised Bostic’s stock through the draft process.

“I’m very proud of Jon, he really worked hard for this moment,” Muschamp said. “Last offseason, we sat down with Jon and told him the things he needed to work on and he really attacked those things. His hard work has paid off now and we wish him the best.”

Bostic started all 26 games at middle linebacker for Florida over the last two seasons, registering a total of 162 tackles (a team-high 94 in 2011) with 16.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

“Very pleased that we were able to get Jon Bostic,” Chicago general manager Phil Emery said. “The reason we like Jon? He’s a three-position player, three-position linebacker. I felt it was very important, that if we were going to take a linebacker in the second round, that we get somebody who could immediately fill in in all three spots. … Obviously he will be given an opportunity to earn a starting job. We see him as a future starter. Again, a very dynamic player, another player that was very high in our athletic ratings and was also a very productive player.”

Emery also discussed why Bostic was the right fit for the Bears. “One, his intelligence; he’s a guy that can line up others. We brought him in for a visit and we felt very good about his football aptitude and his ability to line everybody else up on the field,” he explained. “Two, he’s fast; he’s one of the fastest linebackers in the class. Three was his positional flexibility and four was his special teams. He fit the bill.”

He continued: “I can’t undersell the type of young man this is. He’s very easy to be around. He’s another guy that will bring others in. He’s very invested in football, and he’s a very good person.”

On Friday, Bostic became the first Florida linebacker selected since Brandon Spikes (No. 62, 2010) and the 24th player selected by Chicago in the history of the draft. He will be counted on to replace future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher in the middle of the Bears’ defense and joins safety Major Wright (No. 75, 2010) on the team.

“I know they have a great tradition of linebackers,” Bostic said. “Obviously, to play at this level, it’s going to take a lot of work. I haven’’t played at this level before, so I know it is going to take a lot of work, a lot of studying to catch up to the speed of the game.”

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