TWO BITS: Antwine’s health, Tebow’s jerseys

1 » Like with redshirt senior linebacker A.J. Jones, the St. Petersburg Times caught up with Florida Gators redshirt senior defensive tackle Brandon Antwine to discuss how he is feeling going into next season. “I’m fully recovered,” he said. “My back is feeling real good, I’m just doing preventative measures right now. I’m just rehabbing everyday – my back, my knee, my shoulder, I’m just getting right. My shoulder is feeling a lot better, my knee is feeling a lot better and I’m just ready to get out there in two-a-days and see what I can do.’ […] This is the best I’ve felt since I tried to give it a go in ’09 before I hurt my shoulder. I feel real good.” Antwine also spoke about his motivation. “I love the game,” he said. “No matter what I went through, I always had a lot of support behind me. So I just try to give it back. Me being a leader, a senior, I just look at the younger guys that are going to be here after I’m gone and I try to give them as much information as I’ve learned since I’ve been here to try to help them out any way I can. Just staying around them, them looking up to me and me seeing that they look up to me, that’s a lot of motivation to get better and get back on the field as well.”

2 » CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell reported on Wednesday that Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow continues to lead the NFL in jersey sales, having the best-selling threads at NFLShop.com over the last 90 days. “NFLShop.com currently sells Tebow jerseys in white, orange and blue, in all sizes, including youth,” Rovell writes. “The league also is offering a wide array of Tebow women’s jerseys including ‘Zebra Field Flirt’ and ‘Pink Sweetheart’ varieties.”

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Brantley, Horschel, volleyball

1 » Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has already had a few eventful days in Florida in the month of July. On Saturday – teaming up with Florida’s Blood Centers, the Van Duzer Foundation and Palm Beach Autographs – the former Florida Gators star headlined a 12-hour blood drive in Fort Pierce, FL. Between meeting with fans, signing a ton of autographs (some of which can be purchased here) and speaking about his charities, Tebow entertained the crowd and kept fans wanting more. His First and 15 Foundation was also a featured part of a brand new playroom addition to Shands Children’s Hospital‘s pediatric cancer facility; the organization donated $156,000 used to buy high definition televisions, video game consoles and the like.

Five more BITS on John Brantley, golfer Billy Horschel and more…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Brantley, Horschel, volleyball

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Meyer, Richard, free agency

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will have plenty of doubters to prove on throughout his career with the Denver Broncos, but he is most concerned with making his new head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders feel confident in their decision to select him with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. “I definitely take pride in the coaches picking me and take pride in the fact that I want to prove them right,” Tebow told NFL.com. “That’ll be a goal of mine in playing in the National Football League – to prove coach McDaniels right and to prove Brian Xanders right and to prove the people that supported me right. That’s something that I’ll take pride in trying to do.” As to him playing as a rookie? “I don’t even think about it like that,” Tebow added. “I think about every day I have to get better, and if I do that, then I’ll be satisfied with myself and going in and getting better every day. Because that’s all I can control and that’s what I’m going to worry about.”

2 » Just one year ago, amid speculation that he might be headed elsewhere, Urban Meyer agreed to a six-year, $24 million contract to remain head coach at Florida. According to ESPN’s Mike Fish, who spoke with Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, Meyer is on the verge of finally signing his new deal, the terms of which were finalized way back on Aug. 3, 2009. “It’ll get signed sometime in the next month or so, if not sooner,” Foley said. “There are no hang-ups. Bottom line, he has a [previously signed] contract that has four years left to run on it. It’s not like he doesn’t have a contract. And he is getting compensated at the new rate. We have an agreement with Urban Meyer at the new rate, and the contract will get signed here shortly.” Regarding Meyer’s health, Foley remains unfazed. “It’s going to be fine,” he said. “It’s not like I have to worry about him having those issues day-to-day. He is a high-energy guy. He is a guy who has total commitment to what he does. I don’t think that has changed.”

3 » Former Gators forward/center Chris Richard, who appeared in 18 games for the Chicago Bulls last season, was waived by the team on Wednesday. Richard averaged 2.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.4 minutes of action per game and was signed after fellow Florida F/C Joakim Noah was injured during the season. He will likely be signed to Chicago’s summer league roster and may find himself back on the team next year.

4 » With NBA free agency beginning literally as this is typed, some former Gators are available to be signed and others may factor into potential sign-and-trade scenarios. Former New York Knicks F/C David Lee, former Washington Wizards guard Mike Miller and former Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem are three of the most prominent “second tier” free agents available. Lee also has the possibility of being involved in a sign-and-trade situation, and Noah could always be moved off of the Bulls in an effort to get a bigger-name free agent under a long-term contract.

Extra BIT » Squidbillies is the name of a cartoon aired during Cartoon Network‘s Adult Swim programming block. Tom Treebow is the name of its new character, a parody of Tebow. He will debut on the show on July 11, but you can catch a glimpse right here.

Photo Credit: Richard Graulich/The Palm Beach Post

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TWO BITS: Tebow in camp, Hernandez’s progress

1 » The Denver Broncos will open training camp on July 26, when the team will require all rookies – including former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow – to report. Veterans will join the youngsters on July 31, and the Broncos have announced that they will open practice to the public beginning on Aug. 1. So, if you are a Florida or Denver fan who just happens to be in the area, feel free to stop by and grab a glimpse.

2 » For the first time since the Boston Globe broke a story about him failing at least one drug test while at the University of Florida, former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez spoke to the media after New England Patriots practice. Though Hernandez would not answer any questions about the drug test – repeatedly saying that the issue was “in the past” – he did drool over the chance to catch passes from future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. “You don’t even dream, coming from Connecticut, playing with a quarterback like that,” Hernandez said. “He’s like a movie star out there. You don’t think about it when you’re out there, but at the same time I go home and think, ‘It’s crazy.’” As to how workouts are unfolding, Hernandez said he is “going out every practice and working as hard as I can, trying to make some plays. [..] I’ve been in quite a few spots. I just come out every day, they put me in places, and I try to go as hard as I can.”

Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet reports that Hernandez struggled on Wednesday by dropping a touchdown pass, accidentally kicking a teammate in the belly on a long pass in the air and lining up incorrectly, the latter of which he received an “expletive-filled earful” for doing wrong. However, Curran notes that Hernandez does look good during practices and is impressing coaches with his catching and playmaking abilities.

Photo Credit: John Biever/Sports Illustrated

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Broncos’ Bailey impressed by Tebow’s dedication

Denver Broncos veteran cornerback Champ Bailey may not have the responsibility of choosing his team’s starting quarterback, but he knows plenty about signal callers after facing them in the NFL for 11 years and bringing in 46 interceptions while defending 107 passes. As a Broncos team leader and future Hall of Famer who has faced some of the best passers in the game, Bailey’s glowing impressions and early evaluations of former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow hold a lot of water.

“See that?” Bailey asked while watching Tebow get in extra practice on his own a few fields away. “That’s Tebow. It’s long after practice and he’s still out there. That’s what he does. That’s not for show. He’s not just doing that because the media is here today. He does that every day.”

Bailey told ESPN that Tebow’s work ethic is unmatched and that, while his reputation precedes himself, he is already impressing teammates.

“We’re all interested in it,” Bailey said. “He has the team behind him. We heard so much about Tebow before he got here and he’s a big story. But everything he has shown shows that he can succeed. The guy just works at his job so much. […] I’m impressed. I like what I see so far.”

Tebow, who said upon being drafted by Denver that his first goal was to win over his teammates, was happy to hear what Bailey said about him afterward.

“That’s what I want ,” Tebow says. “It means so much that my teammates believe in me and know that I’m working hard. That’s why I’m here. […] It’s 24 hours football. I love it. This is how I’m going to spend my summer.”

He may be third on the depth chart at this point, but it is widely believed that Tebow will see the field plenty in 2010 – potentially as a third-down specialist or in a role similar to that which he played on Florida’s 2006 National Championship team.

Photo Credit: Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Haslem, Nelson, Dorsey

1 » On Tuesday, OGGOA tweeted a picture of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow handing a football off to a kid that got some of our female followers pretty riled up. It appears that picture was taken from a Broncos Bunch kids club event that Tebow participated in over the weekend. The Denver Broncos rookie threw passes to and took pictures with a bunch of children – not all of whom were Broncos fans. “Gator nation really is everywhere,” Tebow told CBS4 in Denver, CO. “It’s great to be out here and to play with these kids, to meet the parents and just be here in the stadium. It really is humbling to have people supporting me and to have fans. It really does mean a lot. […] It’s just an opportunity to come out here, throw balls, take some pictures, hang out with people, get a chance to make a kid smile or a family smile and – it’s more important than winning games, when you really look at it.”

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Three more BITS on the futures of Udonis Haslem, David Nelson and Demar Dorsey.
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Tebow, Haslem, Nelson, Dorsey

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FOUR BITS: Harvey, Bullard on NXT, Tebow

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey has been underwhelming since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Having only compiled 5.5 sacks in his first two seasons in the league, he is taking the coaching staff’s belief in him to heart by shedding some weight and becoming a more athletic player. “I thought bigger was better,” Harvey told the Florida Times-Union. “Speed is better. You’ve got to be rushing all day, and you can’t be 280 [pounds] rushing in this heat. […] It’s all on me. I’ve got to perform.” General manager Gene Smith agrees. “I think a couple of things are evident out there,” he said. “He’s probably in the best shape of his life, and he’s lighter this year, so I think you’re seeing some quickness off the snap. And he has better bend coming off the corner. He has shown better flexibility, better quickness and has been better at getting to the quarterback than in any OTAs since he’s been here.

Three more BITS on Thaddeus Bullard’s debut on WWE NXT, 2010 baseball signees picked in the MLB Draft and Tim Tebow…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Harvey, Bullard on NXT, Tebow

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Tebow adds more supporters, lofty comparisons

Arguing whether or not Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow will succeed in the NFL has seemingly become a national pastime with fans, league executives, former players, current players and analysts all having an opinion on his future without even seeing the former Florida Gators star step into a professional huddle.

Supporters and doubters alike realize that Tebow has some work to do in order to be a polished NFL quarterback. Nevertheless, what some term as “flaws,” others believe are characteristics that make Tebow unique and will allow him to succeed at the next level – perhaps even beyond his most ardent fans’ expectations.

ESPN spoke with a few former NFL signal callers known for their mobility – most prominently Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton and Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh – and asked them to evaluate Tebow’s ability to succeed in the pros.

Tarkenton: “I know that Tim Tebow is not the prototypical quarterback. I wasn’t either. Neither was Roger Staubach, even Bob Griese wasn’t. I had my own style of play and did OK. The only thing that will hurt him is coaches. Most coaches don’t understand quarterbacks. Don’t try to coach him into what he’s going to be. That would be a disaster. […] Peyton Manning can’t do what Tim Tebow does, and vice versa. […] The quarterback position is about playmaking, it’s about leadership. It’s a complex position you can’t test for.”

Read what else was said about Tebow and his future…after the break!
Continue Reading » Tebow adds more supporters, lofty comparisons

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