FOUR BITS: Wambach, Harvey, Jackson, Rainey

1 » U.S. Women’s National Team striker Abby Wambach is indeed a “G,” not due to the fact that she is one of the faces of Gatorade but rather because she used her “guile and gamesmanship” to help the United States achieve a 4-3 extra-time victory over Canada in the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics on Monday. Wambach told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday that it was her subtle urging that led the referees to call a rare delay of game penalty on the Canadian goalkeeper, who was holding the ball in the penalty box for up to 15 seconds at times when rules state the ball should be out after six seconds. “I wasn’t yelling. I was just counting,” Wambach told Dan Wetzel of her decision to run next to the referee while heading back down the field. “Probably did it five or seven times.” And of the play in question in which the referee finally blew her whistle? “I got to 10 seconds right next to the referee and at 10 seconds she blew the whistle.”

Canada, of course, believes they were robbed in the match. (The call resulted in an indirect free kick inside the box; a handball was called on the kick and Wambach tied the match 3-3 on a penalty goal.) Though Wambach admits that the call is rare, she notes that it is well within the rules. Her subtle pestering of the referee almost assuredly helped the call be made when it ordinarily might not have been. “Yes it’s uncharacteristic,” she said. “But the rules are the rules. You can say it’s gamesmanship, you can say it’s smart, but I’m a competitor. We needed to get a goal. They’re trying to waste time; I’m trying to speed it up. [...] I think making the referee aware of a situation, there’s nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, the ref made the decision on her own.”

2 » A former No. 8 overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, former Florida Gators defensive end Derrick Harvey was cut from his third team over the course of a year when the Cincinnati Bengals let him go on Sunday. Harvey, who signed with the team just four months ago, was released before participating in a single preseason game. After being released by the Jaguars last July, Harvey was picked up by the Denver Broncos but barely played last season and spent most of it as a healthy scratch on game day. His NFL career may very well be over.

3 » The commitment of three-star offensive lineman Octavius Jackson (Moultrie, GA), who is unranked by Rivals, to the Florida Gators last week came as a surprise to many considering the team has few open slots remaining and a number of highly-rated prospects on its board. The Gators, however, knew exactly what they were doing by brining Jackson on board and it appears as if they were early to what may become a very crowded party. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jackson received “last-minute pleas by Alabama and Florida State” before committing to Florida. He already had a firm scholarship offer from Vanderbilt in his possession. “People have missed on him,” said Rush Propst, Jackson’s high school coach. “His only true offer until a few days ago was Vanderbilt, and they couldn’t believe nobody elsewas on him. Neither could I.”

4 » Running back Chris Rainey is turning heads in Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, a fact that should come as no surprise to Florida fans whose necks were often sore from watching him run in Gainesville, FL. USA Today’s Jim Corbett wrote a few days ago that “Rainey has been the Steelers’ buzz guy since he began flashing during organized team activities, and he’s carried it over to training camp.” Almost everyone from the team’s president on down believes Rainey can make an instant impact with Pittsburgh this season though head coach Mike Tomlin is being a bit more cautious considering how early it is in the process.

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Reggie Nelson, Rex Grossman re-sign with teams

A pair of former Florida Gators football players followed in the footsteps of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey and re-signed over the weekend with the teams they played for in 2011.

Safety Reggie Nelson turned down overtures from the New York Jets to return to the Cincinnati Bengals on a four-year contract worth $18 million including $6.5 million in the first season, and quarterback Rex Grossman agreed to rejoin the Washington Redskins for one year with the knowledge that he will not be the team’s starter.

Nelson had a career year for Cincinnati in 2011, registering 85 combined tackles, four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 12 pass defenses and a pair of sacks. It was the best he had played since his rookie year in Jacksonville, and the team obviously expected his resurgence to continue in 2012 and beyond.

Grossman started off hot for Washington but reverted to his mean as the season went on. He completed a career-high 57.9 percent of his passes for 3,151 yards with 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions and went 5-8 as the Redskins’ starter. With Washington trading a boatload of draft picks for the opportunity to select Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL Draft, Grossman will be relegated to backup duty in 2012.

Though three Gators are now off the market, 11 other notable former Florida players are currently listed as free agents including: wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Cincinnati), linebacker Channing Crowder (DNP/retirement), LB Andra Davis (Buffalo), running back Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay), defensive end Derrick Harvey (Denver), DE Jarvis Moss (Oakland), LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta), cornerback Lito Sheppard (Oakland), offensive tackle Max Starks, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (Denver) and DT Gerard Warren (New England).

Photo Credits: Rich Lipski/Associated Press, Cincinnati Enquirer

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FOUR BITS: Muschamp speaks, NFL free agency

1 » Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp sat down with Sporting News recently for a question-and-answer session about his first season in Gainesville, FL. Below are a few choice selections from the piece, which can be read in full here.

SN: On a scale of 1-10, what’s your excitement level going into spring practice?
MUSCHAMP: An 11. I’m more excited now than the day I was hired. We’re not building a team, we’re building a program. We recruited well last year, and we’re recruiting well again this year. We’re building our roster back as far as the line of scrimmage. This is a line of scrimmage league. If you don’t have quality depth, you’re going to struggle

SN: You were at 66 scholarship players at one point last fall. How could a program like Florida get to the point where it is nearly 20 scholarships from the NCAA minimum?
MUSCHAMP: We were short on numbers to begin with, and there have been 12 guys who left the program since we took over. We signed 19 players (in 2011), and instead of going out and signing guys just to sign the maximum, we banked them and said we’ll take it in the shorts this year. In the SEC, recruiting is different than anywhere else in the country. If you’re not on for one year, you’ve got no chance.

SN: Your best day at Florida in the last 14 months?
MUSCHAMP: Signing Day this year—Signing Day and the bowl game. They’re together. You springboard into offseason with some momentum, and then we had a great year recruiting.

SN: How hard is it for you to admit you were a soft team?
MUSCHAMP: It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever said. But you go back and look at it, and we didn’t consistently stop the run and we weren’t able to run the ball. You can attribute it to multiple factors. We’ve tried to address that with our strength program, recruiting and overall numbers at multiple positions.

2 » NFL free agency is set to begin Tuesday at 4 p.m., but the Cincinnati Bengals met with safety Reggie Nelson anyway on Sunday to gauge his potential interest in resigning with the team. Nelson’s career had a resurgence in 2011 under Cincinnati defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins. With Miami also expected to be looking for a safety in the offseason, Nelson may have an opportunity to reunite with Coyle in South Florida. The Bengals have more cap space than any team in the league but are not necessarily to be a front-runner for a player who is considered the No. 2 free agent available at his position.

3 » Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey also had a breakout season in 2011, setting career-highs in tackles, sacks and forced fumbles. Like Nelson, Mincey and Jacksonville have not been engaged in serious talks and he is also expected to hit the free agent market at 4 p.m. The Buffalo Bills are one team that is expected to pursue him when the floodgates open on Tuesday.

4 » There are 12 other notable former Gators players set to reach free agency: wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Cincinnati), linebacker Channing Crowder (DNP), LB Andra Davis (Buffalo), running back Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay), quarterback Rex Grossman (Washington), defensive end Derrick Harvey (Denver), DE Jarvis Moss (Oakland), LB Mike Peterson (Atlanta), cornerback Lito Sheppard (Oakland), offensive tackle Max Starks (Pittsburgh), defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (Denver) and DT Gerard Warren (New England). It will be particulary interesting to find out where four of the players wind up if they decide to continue their careers. Crowder missed the entire 2011 season by taking a mini “retirement” after the birth of his child and release by Miami; Graham tore his Achilles and missed the final eight games of the season; Harvey was inactive for 13 of Denver’s 18 games; Peterson barely played as a reserve for Atlanta; and Starks tore his ACL in a playoff loss and was set to miss up to nine months.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional Rd.

With the 2011 regular season complete, six former Florida Gators participated in Divisional action during the second round of the 2011-12 NFL Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday.

A total of nine former Florida players were on the main rosters of four of the eight teams that participated in this round, but two were inactive and one was forced to sit out due to injury. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished over the weekend.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots^: Four receptions for 55 yards, touchdown (targets: 6, long: 20); five carries for 61 yards (long: 43); solo tackle

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Divisional Rd.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 5

With the 2011 NFL season officially underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 5 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the fifth week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: 4/10 for 79 yards, touchdown (QB rating: 101.7), six rushes for 38 yards, touchdown (long: 12)

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Solo tackle
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Tackle
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Reception for six yards, touchdown (targets: 2)
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Played as a reserve
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Two receptions for 13 yards (targets: 4, long: 8), solo tackle
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: QB hit
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Three tackles
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Bye week
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Tackle
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Eight tackles (six solo)
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Five tackles, sack, four QB hits
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Bye week
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Reception for 11 yards, rush for 12 yards
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Tackle
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Five receptions for 56 yards (targets: 9, long: 21)
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Six tackles (five solo)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Four tackles (three solo)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Tackle
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two punts for 72 yards (long: 37)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MAX STARKS, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Tackle
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Five rushes for 30 yards (long: 8 )
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Bye week
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: Bye week

INJURED / INACTIVE
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Sports hernia

NOTES
- Starks was signed by Pittsburgh this week after being cut in the offseason.
- Thomas and Hernandez returned to action from injury this week.
- Harvin (ribs) and Gilbert (shoulder) were injured during their games and did not return.
- Three Gators started on the Steelers’ offensive line.

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

NOTABLE FREE AGENTS
DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 4

With the 2011 NFL season officially underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 4 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the fourth week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Five receptions for 42 yards (targets: 7, long: 22), four rushes for 67 yards (long: 20), kick return for 25 yards

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Two tackles (one solo)
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Three tackles (one solo)
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Two receptions for 18 yards (targets: 3, long: 12)
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Six tackles (five solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Two receptions for 17 yards (targets: 5, long: 9), solo tackle
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Two tackles, pass defense, QB hit
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Seven tackles (five solo), pass defense
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Solo tackle, two pass defenses
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Two tackles (one solo)
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Rush for -1 yard
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Three solo tackles (one for loss)
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Played as a starter
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Played as a reserve
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Six tackles (three solo)
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Solo tackle, QB hit
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Solo tackle for loss, QB hit
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Played as a reserve/on special teams
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two punts for 87 yards (long: 45)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Tackle, half-sack
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three receptions for 27 yards (targets: 6, long: 11), two rushes for 24 yards (long: 20)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Four receptions for 62 yards [team-highs] (long: 20)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 15/29 for 143 yards, touchdown, two interceptions (QB Rating: 48.5), five rushes for two yards

INJURED / INACTIVE
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Pectoral
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: MCL
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Sports hernia

NOTES
- Wright returned to action this week after suffering a concussion.
- Haden sprained his knee during game action.
- Mike Pouncey was injured against San Diego but returned to the game.
- Warren was signed by New England this week.
- Tight end Cornelius Ingram was released off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad.

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

NOTABLE FREE AGENTS
DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard, OT Max Starks

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2 | 3

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 3

With the 2011 NFL season officially underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 3 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the third week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Four tackles (two solo, one for loss), two sacks, three QB hits, pass defense

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Five tackles (three solo)
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Two tackles
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Six receptions for 84 yards (targets: 8, long: 26)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Six receptions for 53 yards [team-highs] (targets: 12, long: 14), solo tackle
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Tackle, QB hit
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: 10 tackles (seven solo) [team-highs]
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Four solo tackles (pass defense)
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Fumble recovery
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Reserve
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Four tackles (three solo)
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Played as a starter
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Three receptions for 47 yards (targets: 5, long: 21), two rushes for 41 yards (long: 39), two kick returns for 47 yards (long: 25)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Played as a starter
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Five tackles (two solo)
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Solo tackle
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two punts for 90 yards (long: 49)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Played as a starter
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Seven receptions for 37 yards (targets: 8, long: 11), two rushes for -1 yard
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Five receptions [team-high] for 60 yards (targets: 6, long: 17)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 22/37 for 250 yards, touchdown, interception (QB Rating: 77.5), rush for six yards

NOTES
- Harvin did not return for the final five minutes of the second half or overtime after being hit in the gut and subsequently vomiting on the sideline.

INJURED / INACTIVE
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Concussion
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Pectoral
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: MCL
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Sports hernia

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
TE Cornelius Ingram (Detroit), DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

NOTABLE FREE AGENTS
DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard, OT Max Starks, DT Gerard Warren

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1 | 2

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 2

With the 2011 NFL season officially underway, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 2 action, many of whom had an impact on their team’s performance. OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the second week of the 2011 campaign.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: 10 receptions [team-high] for 83 yards (targets: 13, long: 15), touchdown [game-winner]
Video: David Nelson’s game-winning touchdown [start at 2:57]

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Five solo tackles (one for loss)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Seven receptions for 62 yards, touchdown (targets: 8, long: 16)
QB REX GROSSMAN, Washington Redskins: 25/43 for 291 yards, two touchdowns [game-winner], two interceptions (QB Rating: 74.9)
Video: Rex Grossman leads Washington to a come-from-behind victory

THE REST

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Played as a reserve
LB ANDRA DAVIS, Buffalo Bills: Five tackles (three solo)
FS MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Five tackles (four solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Three receptions for 27 yards (targets: 4 long: 10), touchdown
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Four solo tackles
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Four tackles (three solo)
DE DERRICK HARVEY, Denver Broncos: Solo tackle
QB TIM TEBOW, Denver Broncos: Played as reserve wide receiver
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
C MIKE POUNCEY*, Miami Dolphins: Played as a starter
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Seven receptions for 76 yards (targets: 8, long: 19), two rushes for 18 yards (long: 10), fumble, kick return for two yards
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Played as a reserve
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Two solo tackles
G COOPER CARLISLE, Oakland Raiders: Played as a starter
DE JARVIS MOSS, Oakland Raiders: Played as a reserve
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Played on special teams
P CHAS HENRY*, Philadelphia Eagles: Four punts for 179 yards (avg. 44.8, long: 52)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
OT MARCUS GILBERT*, Pittsburgh Steelers: Played as a starter
DE RAY MCDONALD, San Francisco 49ers: Sack, two QB hits
FB EARNEST GRAHAM, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three rushes for 18 yards (long: 7), five receptions for 21 yards (long: 8 )
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Washington Redskins: Five receptions for 62 yards (targets: 8, long: 22), two rushes for 18 yards (long: 10)

NOTES
C DREW MILLER: A reserve on St. Louis, Miller cut by the team early last week.
DE JUSTIN TRATTOU: A reserve on the New York Giants, Trattou was cut by the team early last week and signed to their practice squad.

INJURED / INACTIVE
DT MARCUS THOMAS, Denver Broncos: Pectoral
LB BRANDON SILER, Kansas City Chiefs: Torn achilles (season)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Sports hernia

PRACTICE SQUAD PLAYERS
TE Cornelius Ingram (Detroit), DE Justin Trattou* (New York Giants), SS Ahmad Black* (Tampa Bay), OG Maurice Hurt* (Washington)

NOTABLE FREE AGENTS
DE Alex Brown, DE Bobby McCray, CB Lito Sheppard, OT Max Starks, DT Gerard Warren

* Rookie

2011 WEEK: 1

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