1 » The SEC Network on Wednesday announced a distribution agreement with Charter Communications that now puts the channel on eight of the 10 largest television providers nationwide and in more than 91 million households. ESPN also released individual animations for each school that will be seen on the network whenever the program is covered. The one made for the Florida Gators can be seen below (after the break because, for some reason, it is set to auto-start, which is annoying):
1 » Minor surgery to address a “core muscle injury” has kept Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee off the USA Basketball men’s national team as it reports to training camp from July 28 to Aug. 1 ahead of the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain. However, two former Florida Gators have made the 19-player training camp roster with Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons both being given the opportunity to make the 12-man team. As it turns out, Parsons was not one of the 28 players who made the original pool as announced on Jan. 22. His tremendous play last season, coupled with Lee’s inability to compete, opened up a spot for the man who just signed a three-year, $46 million contract. It is the third-straight season that Lee has undergone surgery in the offseason; he averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in 2013-14.
2 » Two former Florida golfers – instead of three as previously scheduled – are competing at The Open Championship but only one is currently above the assumed cut line after the first round. Billy Horschel shot a +1 (73) on Thursday and is currently tied for 66th at seven shots behind the leader, Rory McIlroy. Coming in nearly 20 places behind Horschel is Matt Every, who stroked a +3 (75) and is in a 19-way tie for 105th. Unfortunately, former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia, who looks forward to the event each year, had to withdraw from the event due to travel issues. “Right now I thought I’d be on [the] 3rd hole of mini practice [round] at the Open!! Best we could do is a flight to West Palm Beach,” wrote the 54-year-old 1989 winner on Twitter. “Totally depressed I can’t be at my fave tourney in the world!! American Airlines killed us for no reason weather was fine #dontgetit” As a prior British Open champion, Calcavecchia qualifies for an automatic spot each year until he turns 60 years of age, meaning he only had the opportunity to play in seven (now six) more British Open events. He currently plays on the Champions Tour, which is restricted to golfers over 50.
1 » For the second time in as many days a former Florida Gators baseball has been called up to a MLB roster and will finally get his shot in the big leagues. Shortstop Cole Figueroa, who is batting .299 in 32 Southern League games with the Durham Bulls, will join the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday as a replacement for Ben Zobrist, who is headed to the disabled list with a dislocated thumb. Figueroa has played 250 games in Triple-A while waiting for his shot. Right-handed pitcher Anthony DeSclafani got the call on Tuesday to make his first appearance in the big leagues Wednesday night as a starting hurler for the Miami Marlins. DeSclafani (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K) put together an impressive debut, leading Miami to a 13-3 win and even getting things done at the plate going 1/4 with two RBI and a run scored.
2 » There is no good reason to have a mock 2015 NFL Draft with three months to go until the start of the 2014 college football season – in fact, there are plenty of ways in which one could point out that a mock draft for next year is a terrible idea – but ESPN.com’s Todd McShay published one on Wednesday ($) and it included some high praise for a current Florida defender. Gators junior Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. was mocked by McShay as the No. 4 overall pick in next year’s draft. Unlike cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, who was projected to make big gains during his junior season and prove to be the most NFL-ready player to come out of Florida in 2014, Fowler is unanimously considered the Gators’ best draft prospect for 2015. Hopefully for Fowler, unlike Purifoy, he makes the most out of what could be his last season.
1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Andre Caldwell re-signed with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, inking a two-year deal worth a maximum of $3.45 million to remain with the team. Caldwell was signed by Denver in 2012 when the Broncos signed quarterback Peyton manning and was not given the opportunity accomplish much his first season. Last year, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks before exploding on Dec. 2, 2013 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He caught 12 passes over the final five games and was held without a reception in Super Bowl XLVIII. With Denver not expected to re-sign WR Eric Decker, Caldwell could have a greater opportunity to contribute in 2014.
1 » For Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, Super Bowl XLVIII will be just the third game he has played in all season long. Though he has totaled just 19 snaps, four receptions and 38 yards (along with one carry for nine yards), Harvin is seen by many as a potential X-factor for Seattle in its duel with the Denver Broncos. Tom Pelissero of USA Today opined Saturday that Harvin will wind up being the game’s Most Valuable Player, and history can certainly back up that proclamation. During the 2007 BCS Championship, Harvin scored a touchdown and totaled 82 yards on 11 touches. He also happened to be the Florida Gators’ leading pass catcher that day both in receptions (nine) and yards (60). Two years later, Harvin likely would have been the 2009 BCS Championship’s Most Outstanding Player had it not been for quarterback Tim Tebow’s performance. In that game, Harvin returned from an ankle injury to amass 170 total yards and a touchdown. He once again had team-highs of nine receptions and 121 receiving yards in the contest. Harvin is listed at 18-to-1 to win Super Bowl MVP honors with an over/under of 51.5 receiving yards and 1.6-to-1 odds of scoring a touchdown. Would you really bet against him?
2 » Denver Broncos WR Andre Caldwell signed up to catch passes from QB Peyton Manning but did not get much of an opportunity to do that last season. He was moved from No. 3 receiver to the bench and barely got on the field. Even in 2013, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks of the season before exploding on Dec. 12 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He has seen more snaps with each passing game and now has the opportunity to play for a championship. “We have so much talent in the receiving corps, I’m the forgotten man,” Caldwell told CBSSports.com during Super Bowl Media Day on Thursday. “It’s humbling, but it makes me work a little harder. People forget about me on Media Day and during the game, but it just makes me work hard. But I prepare like I’m a starter anyway. I know when my opportunities come, I have to make them so people don’t forget about me.” He added: “This is something I couldn’t have imagined. I was fighting for my career and now I’m in the Super Bowl. And I’m actually playing.”
1 » ABC is making the most of its subsidiary’s employment of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, according to The Hollywood Reporter, by having the Heisman Trophy winner sit in Friday as a guest co-host on Good Morning America. Tebow, who signed with ESPN in December to cover college football and be the face of the SEC Network (set to launch as its own channel in August), will join the Time Square-based show to discuss the forthcoming Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and his former team, the Denver Broncos.
2 » The highest-profile former Florida player actually participating in Sunday’s big game is Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has a penchant for stepping up when championships are on the line. Harvin was cleared to return to practice last Wednesday and will be full-go for the Super Bowl with head coach Pete Carroll saying the playmaker has looked “great” in practice. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey called Harvin “a dangerous man” on Sunday, “one of the most explosive guys coming off the ball” and someone who can “change the game.” Harvin on Tuesday declared himself “ready to go.” “This is what I live for,” he said. “I’m used to playing in big games since I was younger, whether it was in Pop Warner or the two with the Gators.” As a freshman, Harvin picked up 82 total yards and a touchdown in Florida’s 41-14 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State. Two years later in the 2009 BCS National Championship, Harvin exploded for 171 yards and a touchdown in UF’s 24-14 victory against Oklahoma.
The 2013-14 NFL Playoffs continued this week with six former Florida Gators spread out over all four of the teams that participated in NFL Championship round action.
Three former Gators were listed as active. Each of the four teams that played – and therefore both that advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII – had at least one former Florida player on its roster.
A former Gators player is guaranteed to be on the roster of a Super Bowl winner for the fifth time in the last six seasons. It will be the 12th consecutive season that a former Florida player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl team and the ninth time in the last 15 seasons that a former Gators player will be on the rosters of both Super Bowl teams.
Below are game statistics for all three active Florida players that participated in the third round of the playoffs. Check out how they performed…after the break!
The 2013-14 NFL Playoffs continued this week with eight former Florida Gators spread out over five of the eight teams that participated in NFL Divisional round action.
Five former Gators were listed as active. Each of the four teams that advanced has at least one former Florida player on its roster.
Therefore, a former Gators player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl winner for the fifth time in the last six seasons. It will be the 12th consecutive season that a former Florida player will be on the roster of a Super Bowl team and the ninth time in the last 15 seasons that a former Gators player will be on the rosters of both Super Bowl teams.
Below are game statistics for all five active Florida players that participated in the second round of the playoffs. Check out how they performed…after the break!