FOUR BITS: NFL, Donovan, Mooney, Parsons

1 » The names of a few former Florida Gators popped up on the NFL transaction wire this week. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and wide receiver David Nelson were signed by the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, respectively, on Tuesday. Cunningham was released by the New England Patriots after never even suiting up for the team during the offseason, and Nelson was cut by the Cleveland Browns after his knee flared up during the preseason.

On the other side of the coin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived safety Ahmad Black (who started for them this season), and the St. Louis Rams cut offensive tackle Max Starks, who was signed just two weeks ago.

2 » ESPN’s Andy Kats noted on Wednesday that Gators head coach Billy Donovan has decided not to take advantage of the NCAA pushing up the start of basketball practice and will instead begin Florida workouts on Friday, Oct. 11. He opines that the move is being made to give senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin extra time to get back in the team’s good graces. Though that may have an ounce of truth to it, the actuality is Donovan would prefer to have his team practice more in a shorter period of time rather than three total hours per week over an additional month. “[He] likes to hold double sessions over weekends and you only have 30 practices over 42 days before [the] season opener,” correctly noted The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway.

3 » Grabbing a recruit three years before he graduates high school is a risky proposition, but it sounds like the Gators’ latest basketball pledge is in for the long haul. 2016 power forward John Mooney (Altamonte Springs, FL) committed to Florida on Saturday, the school he has always wanted to attend. “I don’t see this being an Austin Rivers situation at all,” Mooney’s head coach at Lake Brantley High School, Mike Cuff, told Brockway. Cuff also said Mooney averaged a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman on varsity despite only taking 6-7 shots per game. Brockway also spoke with Mooney’s Nike Team Florida coach Tom Topping, who noted that the player “projects as one of the better basketball players in his class,” something that is “not just my opinion.”

4 » Grantland.com’s Juliet Litman takes a closer look at Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons and his incredibly busy summer, which she concludes is an “aggressive attempt to become a famous athlete/fashion icon,” something she personally finds “strangely endearing.” OnlyGators.com will be speaking with Parsons prior to the start of the 2013-14 NBA season.

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Patriots release Gators QB Tim Tebow; others cut

For the third time in an NFL career that has spanned as many full seasons, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has been dismissed by the franchise to which he was under contract as the New England Patriots decided to release the former Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday as they were forced to cut 22 players in order to whittle their roster down to 53 players ahead of the 2013 season.

ESPN‘s Adam Schefter first reported Tebow’s release via Twitter.

It took one month after being waived by the New York Jets for Tebow to be signed by New England, the team that always seemed like the best fit for his unique talents.

The Patriots acquired Tebow as a quarterback and waived Mike Kafka in order to bring him into the fold. In joining New England, he reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who selected him with the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft while serving as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

But McDaniels’s desire to give him an opportunity and owner Robert Kraft’s affection for him as a person were simply not enough to keep Tebow on the 53-man roster.

In 2011, during his second year with the Broncos, Tebow was a mid-season replacement at starting quarterback and set the league on fire by leading his team to numerous come-from-behind victories and seven wins in eight games from Weeks 7-14. He also threw a game-winning overtime touchdown against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, going went 10-of-21 for 316 yards with two passing touchdowns while carrying the ball 10 times for 50 yards and a rushing score.

Continue Reading » Patriots release Gators QB Tim Tebow; others cut

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 4

The 2013 NFL regular season is six days away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5, but 39 former Florida Gators spread out over 19 teams remained on rosters while the league participated in the fourth full week of preseason action on Aug. 29.

Thirteen teams have multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami and Washington (four); New England, N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Seattle (two).

Below are game statistics for all 23 active players and select news updates on a number of Gators for the final full week of training camp.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
K CALEB STURGIS, Miami Dolphins*: Started; 3/3 on field goals (long: 43), 1/1 on extra points
» Sturgis was 9/9 on field goals in the preseason with a long of 58 yards.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 4

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 3

The 2013 NFL regular season is 11 days away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5, but 41 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 teams remained on rosters while the league participated in the second full week of preseason action from Aug. 20-25.

Thirteen teams have multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami and Washington (four); New England, N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Seattle (two).

Below are game statistics for all 30 active players and select news updates on a number of Gators for the fifth full week of training camp.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LB JON BOSTIC, Chicago Bears*: Started; eight tackles (seven solo, one for loss) [team-highs]
» Bostic was fined $21,000 by the NFL for the highlight tackle he made on Aug. 15.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 3

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 2

The 2013 NFL regular season is two weeks away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5, but 41 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 teams remained on rosters while the league participated in the second full week of preseason action from Aug. 12-19.

Thirteen teams have multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami and Washington (four); New England, N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Seattle (two).

Below are game statistics for every player and select news updates on some Gators for the fourth full week of training camp.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Started; three tackles (two solo, two for loss), two QB hits, two sacks

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 2

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 1

The 2013 NFL regular season is three weeks away from kicking off on Thursday, Sept. 5, but 41 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 teams remained on rosters while the league participated in the first full week of preseason action from Aug. 8-11.

Thirteen teams have multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami and Washington (four); New England, N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay (three); and Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Seattle (two).

Below are game statistics for every player and select updates on some Gators for the third full week of training camp.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LB JON BOSTIC, Chicago Bears*: Started; two solo tackles (one for loss), pass defense, 51-yard interception return for touchdown
» Bostic’s pick-six was against former UF quarterback Cam Newton. He is taking advantage of a veteran being injured and may be in line to steal the starting job.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 1

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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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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.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators football’s tumultuous offseason

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