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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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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SIX NFL BITS: Tebow, Reed, Thompson, Andrews

1 » As part of a story on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in the June issue of ESPN The Magazine, author David Fleming notes that members of the player’s “camp [are] privately admitting that his NFL run is probably over.” Shortly after the story was released online, members of Tebow’s “camp” began the damage control. “It’s not true,” a source told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. Added his father Bob Tebow: “You are old enough to not believe all your hear.” Someone else in Tebow’s stable told USA Today’s Mike Garafolo, in the writer’s words, that “Tebow isn’t ready to give up, retire or look to head to the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League.” While these reports provide a different angle than Fleming portrayed, none actually refute what the source in Tebow’s camp told Fleming. Tebow may have every intention of continuing his NFL career but that does not mean those in his camp are forced to vehemently believe that he will actually wind up receiving another opportunity from a team.

2 » New Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed has not yet participated in a team practice, despite being under contract, and is unlikely to do so before training camp convenes in three weeks. Reed is still recovering from a left leg injury and feels the appendage is not strong enough yet to go full-speed on at this time. “[The trainer] has been helping me out a lot. I’m getting stronger, getting my muscle back. That’s all I really need to do: get my muscle back and I’ll be all set,” he told Comcast SportsNet. Reed explained that a thigh contusion he suffered at Florida led to a bone bruise in his knee, which is why he is currently missing practice time.”

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
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Dolphins sign Gators RB Mike Gillislee

Former Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee agreed to a four-year rookie contract with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, officially becoming the fourth player out of Florida on Miami’s roster for the 2013 season.

He signed for $2.322 million with a $162,800 fully guaranteed signing bonus and will average $580,700 per season, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2017.

Gillislee is the fourth of Florida’s eight draftees to come to terms with the team that selected him in April’s draft. Chicago signed LB Jon Bostic on May 9. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins and kicker Caleb Sturgis inked deals with the Dolphins on Tuesday.

Gillislee was chosen by Miami with the No. 164 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, two spots ahead of Sturgis at No. 166 overall. The Dolphins will have an open competition at running back with Gillislee competing primarily against Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.

Though not a starter until his senior season, Gillislee made the most of the opportunity by racking up 1,152 yards while becoming the Gators’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns.

Being selected by Miami was the realization of a dream for Gillislee, who grew up rooting for the Dolphins. He also gets to play close to home in front of his family.

“The Dolphins were always my favorite team. It was always a dream, and now my dream came true,” he said. “I’m going to be closer to my family and I’m just ready to play football. It’s good weather to play football and everything.”

All three new Miami players will join former Florida center Mike Pouncey, who is entering his third year with the franchise.

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Dolphins sign Gators LB Jenkins, K Sturgis

Former Florida Gators linebacker Jelani Jenkins and kicker Caleb Sturgis agreed to four-year rookie contracts with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.

OGGOA has learned that Jenkins signed for $2.632 million with a $472,688 signing bonus and Sturgis inked his deal for $2.304 million with a $144,560 signing bonus. Signing bonuses for draft selections are fully guaranteed.

Jenkins and Sturgis are the second and third of Florida’s eight draftees to come to terms with the team that selected them in April’s draft. Chicago signed LB Jon Bostic on Thursday.

Jenkins was chosen by Miami with the No. 104 overall pick in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Sturgis was selected at the bottom of the fifth round with the No. 166 overall choice.

The Dolphins believe that Jenkins’s speed, coverage ability, athleticism and upside were worth using their first third-day pick to acquire. At the time of his selection, he was the 11th former Gators player to be selected by the team and the first Florida linebacker picked by Miami since Channing Crowder (No. 70 overall) in 2005.

Sturgis became the 13th former Gators player selected by the Dolphins as he was picked just two spots after the team chose running back Mike Gillislee at No. 164 overall in the fifth round. Gillislee remains unsigned as of press time but should ink his deal with the team soon.

While Jenkins will compete for field time as a back-up linebacker, Sturgis will be in starter-or-bust mode as he goes up against veteran Dan Carpenter for the kicking job. Most NFL teams only carry one kicker on their roster. Though Carpenter had success early in his career, he struggled in 2012 and is set to earn $2.7 million in 2013, meaning Sturgis will have every opportunity to win the gig this summer.

All three new Miami players will join former Florida center Mike Pouncey, who is entering his third year with the franchise.

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