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.

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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!
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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!
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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!
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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!
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Florida Gators 2013 NFL Draft viewer’s guide

OGGOA LIVE COVERAGE – April 25-27 – Florida Gators in the 2013 NFL Draft

Former Florida Gators are expected to come off the board quickly and often during the 2013 NFL Draft with the team assured of having at least eight players drafted over the three-day event for the first time since 2010. Florida has a legitimate chance to set a new school record with 10 or more players chosen from April 25-27.

As fans of the 32 NFL teams look on nationwide, those supporting the Gators are just as excited to see where the players they used to watch on Saturdays will be playing on Sundays in the fall.

The fact of the matter is that few things are certain when it comes to the NFL Draft. Trades can occur at any moment and each team views its most pressing needs and what each player on its board brings to the table differently than analysts do. Rather than try to predict the unknown variables and tell you what could happen, OGGOA is here to set your expectations for what should go down Thursday-Saturday.

» Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd will be the first Florida player selected but may fall short of being the highest-drafted player in program history.

Over the last few months no first-round player has seen more hype as it relates to his rise in the draft than Floyd, who started the process as a pick in the teens or early 20s and is now believed to be a consensus top-10 selection and the top player at his position in the draft. Most mock drafts heading into Thursday have Floyd slotted at No. 3 overall to the Oakland Raiders; a selection there would make him the highest-drafted player in Gators history, tying him with DT Gerard Warren (No. 3 – 2001), wide receiver Wes Chandler (No. 3 – 1978) and quarterback Steve Spurrier (No. 3 – 1967). However, there is no guarantee that Oakland will stay at No. 3 overall; in fact, multiple reports on Thursday have the Raiders preferring to trade back in the draft because the front office has so many holes to fill on its roster. Should Oakland move out of its spot, Floyd could still go No. 3 overall (to a different team) or may even fall to the bottom half of the top-10 depending what other moves are made. The only thing known for sure is that Floyd will be the first (and possibly only) Florida player drafted on Thursday and will be the first Gators defensive lineman selected in the first since Derrick Harvey (No. 8 – 2008).

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Mayock high on most Gators in 2013 NFL Draft

In exactly one week’s time, the 2013 NFL Draft will commence from Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. Florida Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, a consensus top-10 pick, will be in attendance but plenty of his teammates will be watching just as intently hoping to hear their names called.

The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, the featured analyst on the network’s coverage and one of the most respected draftniks around, is bullish on most of the players coming out of Florida and has given high marks to many Gators during his pre-draft evaluations.

Mayock believes that Floyd, who could very well become the highest-drafted player in program history if he goes in the top three picks of the first round, is the cream of the crop and has him listed as his No. 2 overall prospect.

“That tells you how much I like Sharrif Floyd. What I love about the kid is he’s a prototypical three-technique, a defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. His quickness and ability to get up the field and disrupt the pass game is unique for a defensive tackle. If you can get a defensive tackle that can affect the pass game, you got something special,” he said on Thursday.

“He’s also stout enough to play the run. I’ve got him No. 2 on my board. I love the kid.”

Also a potential first-round selection is safety Matt Elam, who Mayock thinks will be selected in the 25-32 overall pick range. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he slid into the second round, but I like him as a first-round safety,” he said.

Mayock addressed Elam’s primary flaw, his height, which is the main reason why he is not a sure-fire first-rounder.

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Former Florida Gators shine at 2013 Pro Day

Nineteen former Florida Gators football players – including five that have been off the team for more than a year – participated in Pro Day at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on a rain-covered Florida Field in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday.

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance though many head coaches and general managers remained at their teams’ headquarters considering Pro Day was being held on the same day as the start of NFL free agency for the 2013 season.

“It’s an exciting time. That’s how Pro Day is supposed to look at Florida,” head coach Will Muschamp said after the event. “All 32 teams are here and that’s how it ought to be. As we continue to do a good job evaluating in recruiting and developing our players, which we will, our Pro Days will continue to look that way. Really proud of these guys that worked out today and appreciate all their contributions to the University of Florida. I want to congratulate our staff on doing an outstanding job developing these guys.”

“I think they’ve all worked extremely hard,” he continued. “They understand what’s at stake. These guys are at a great time in their life. Here they are the verge of playing in the arena on Sunday. That’s something, as you look at, you’re a football player and taking that next step. They understand what’s at stake. I’m proud of what I saw today just form the standpoint of how they worked and how they conducted themselves, the positive feedback I’ve gotten from general managers, head coaches, assistants and the National Football League of the character of our guys and how they handled themselves at the combine. All of it has been ultra-positive. I’ve been real pleased about that.”

Below are evaluations on and quotes from many of the Gators that participated on Tuesday. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Lerentee McCray and tight end Jordan Reed did not work out but will in a separate, private Pro Day event on March 22 in The Swamp. Reed did still participate in some on-field drills Tuesday.

Muschamp had nothing but high praise for Floyd when asked about him potentially going in the top five picks. “Turn on the tape,” he said. “The guy can anchor, he can play the run, he’s got great initial quickness, he can rush the passer. He’s everything you want from an inside player. The NFL teams, they don’t like to project. I’ve been there; I know. They want to see guys that play in 3-4 and 4-3. They’ve seen him play two-gap. They’ve seen him play nose. They’ve seen him play four-technique, They’ve seen him play one-gap, three-technique, five-technique, nine-technique. They’ve seen him play outside; they’ve seen him play inside.

“From a general manager prospective, talking to his owner and telling him he wants to spend money on a player – a clean player that has no issues off the field – that’s a very smart pick, in my opinion. You got a guy that can be a very dominating player that has got so many positive things surrounding him and he’s been exposed positionally to so many different things within our scheme.”

Other former Gators in attendance to root on the younger guys included wide receivers Reidel Anthony and Riley Cooper, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker Mike Peterson, running back Chris Rainey and linebacker Brandon Siler.

Safety Matt Elam

» NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock (via Florida’s website): “On tape he plays so close to the line of scrimmage, especially in their nickel package, he’s on the slot. He’s quick-footed, an aggressive tough kid. What I saw today was what I wanted to see, his ball skills, especially on deep balls. I could see him open his hips, take angles like a deep half or deep third. I thought he really helped himself today.”

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