6 BITS: Matt Elam suffers season-ending injury, Florida QB Will Grier has gained 24 lbs. since 2014

1 » Former Florida Gators safety Matt Elam struggled during his second season with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014. Looking to bounce back and regain his starting role this season, Elam may be faced with an even greater obstacle to overcome. According to The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson, Elam “may have torn his biceps” and was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday to determine whether he has indeed suffered a season-ending injury. A completely torn biceps would sideline Elam for the season; a partial tear would likely put him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for the start of the campaign, though his return would still be questionable. Elam has been fighting with fellow former Florida safety Will Hill for the starting strong safety job; Hill supplanted Elam at the position during the 2014 campaign.

Update: ESPN‘s Ed Werder confirmed Tuesday that Elam’s injury is indeed a full tear of his biceps; Elam will therefore miss the entire 2015 season. He will be placed on the Ravens’ injured reserve and look to rejoin the team in 2016.

Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Matt Elam suffers season-ending injury, Florida QB Will Grier has gained 24 lbs. since 2014

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6 NFL BITS: Tebow’s throwing motion, Haden fights R-word, Jenkins and Mincey negotiating

1 » USA Today went somewhat in-depth on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow with Josh Peter penning a feature that looks at how his throwing motion and football mind has evolved while fighting to keep his career alive. Below is a highlight quote from the feature, which you can read in full by clicking here.

“I don’t feel like I’m the same player from a passing standpoint and a mechanics standpoint,” Tebow said. “I love the process and I love that I have a chance to get better,” he added. “That’s an important mindset not just for football, just in life. When you have that mindset, then you won’t look back and you won’t regret anything. No matter how much you succeeded, no matter how good you were at something, you can never look back and say, ‘I regret I didn’t go all the way.'”

2 » Though former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins missed out on first-round money due to off-field concerns, it appears as if he may be close to striking a substantial contract extension with the St. Louis Rams, which took a chance on him with the No. 39 overall pick in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Jenkins has been a solid starter for the Rams over the last three seasons, making his share of highlight plays and also being on his fair end of offensive highlights for the St. Louis’ opponents. Still, Jenkins will likely command second- or third-tier money, which for a cornerback these days can be a more-than-solid payday. Jenkins picked off seven passes and scored five touchdowns from 2012-14.

Continue Reading » 6 NFL BITS: Tebow’s throwing motion, Haden fights R-word, Jenkins and Mincey negotiating

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Florida Gators react on Twitter to the murder conviction of former tight end Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end with the Florida Gators, was convicted of first-degree murder on Wednesday by a jury of his peers in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Reaction was immediate from Hernandez’s former teammates with the Gators, who expressed their shock and concern for Hernandez on social media.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators react on Twitter to the murder conviction of former tight end Aaron Hernandez

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FOUR BITS: Hill, Parsons, Pro Bowl, Haden

1 » For the second time in the last 14 months, former Florida Gators safety Will Hill is a wanted man. According to The Baltimore Sun, a warrant is out for Hill’s arrest in his home state of New Jersey as he allegedly owes $16,588.18 in back-due child support. Hill, then a member of the New York Giants, was arrested on the same charge in Dec. 2013. After not being selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, he spent an entire season out of the league while he tried to clean up his act and was picked up by the Giants in 2012; he remained on the team for two seasons despite being suspended twice for violating NFL drug policies. New York stood by him after his 2013 arrest but cut him on June 2, 2014, four days after the league handed down a third drug suspension. The Baltimore Ravens took a shot on Hill, who once again claimed to be reformed, and it paid off. Hill missed the first six games of the 2014 season but started most of the Ravens’ remaining contests, earning $368,824 for the duration of the campaign. For his career, Hill has made $1.03 million but lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to his three suspensions (14 missed games). His one-year deal with Baltimore expired; whether he gets another opportunity in the NFL remains to be seen.

“Will Hill, he has a lot of talent,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh in his last press conference of the season. “It’s something that we always knew. He also has a great love for the game. He learned our defense throughout the course of the season, which it’s not easy to do that. We have a tough defense. We do a lot of good stuff back there. But he was running the show pretty well back there toward the end of the year.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Hill, Parsons, Pro Bowl, Haden

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Top 14 for 2014: Florida Gators best moments of the year

For as bad as things went for the Florida Gators at times in 2014 (see the Not Top 14 for 2014), there were more than a fair share of bright spots. From breathtaking moments and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting records, the Gators had plenty to be proud of in 2014. Check out OnlyGators.com‘s Top 14 for 2014.

14 » RARE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UPSET

Gators women’s basketball has struggled to find relevancy but there was no question Florida had its engines running on Jan. 5 when it pulled off one of the biggest victories in program history, an 83-73 upset win over No. 6 Kentucky. The win broke a six-game losing streak for UF against UK and was head coach Amanda Butler’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent after going 0-17 previously in such games. Florida had lost 19-straight regular-season games against top 10-ranked opponents, earning its last victory to such a team in Feb. 2006.

13 » TEBOW TIME ALL THE TIME

Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow had a life-changing 2014 after agreeing to sign a long-term broadcasting deal with ESPN. Tebow was featured on the network’s national title broadcast that season and was later assigned to the SEC Network where he served as one of three analysts for the channel’s Saturday pre-game show, SEC Nation. Tebow has drawn rave reviews throughout 2014 for his passionate opinions and consistent on-air knowledge. He also proved to be unbiased, lambasting the leadership on Florida’s offense when the team struggled during the middle of the season. One Tebow moment – a spot-on impersonation of former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier – was OnlyGators.com’s most-watched Vine with 1.3 million loops as of press time.

Tebow also closed 2014 with a brilliant on-air prediction, which you can check out below.

Continue Reading » Top 14 for 2014: Florida Gators best moments of the year

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 16 & 17

The 2014 NFL regular season concluded this week with 36 former Florida Gators spread out over 20 of the 32 teams in the league.

Twelve teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia and Tampa Bay (three each); and Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh and St. Louis (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 26 players (16 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 16th week of the regular season as well as the same information for all 29 players (15 starters^) that were active in Week 17.

Eight former Gators advanced to the postseason. Florida is represented on seven of the 12 teams that moved on to the 2014 NFL Playoffs.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (16)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Started | five receptions for 53 yards (target: 7, long: 16), two touchdowns

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (16)

PLAYER OF THE WEEK (17)
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Started | three solo tackles, pass defense, interception (-4 yard return)

PLAYS OF THE WEEK (17)

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 16 & 17

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Former Gators CB Joe Haden, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Pouncey chosen for Pro Bowl

Updated on Jan. 10 at 4 p.m.

A pair of former Florida Gators were elected Tuesday to the NFL Pro Bowl fifth-year Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and fifth-year Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey were both chosen to participate in this season’s all-star game.

Update: Two weeks after the announcements were initially made, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey – who played right guard all season – was selected as a replacement for San Francisco guard Mike Iupati.

Haden and Maurkice Pouncey each received lucrative five-year contract extensions from their respective franchises this offseason.

The Browns agreed to pay Haden $68 million ($45 million guaranteed), while the Steelers and Maurkice Pouncey agreed on a $44 million compensation package ($13 million guaranteed).

Continue Reading » Former Gators CB Joe Haden, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Pouncey chosen for Pro Bowl

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4 BITS: McDonald, Easley, Murphy, Harvin, Haden

1 » The San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday released veteran defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was investigated earlier in the day on suspicion of sexual assault. “This is about a pattern of poor behavior,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We expect a lot from our players, hold them accountable for their actions.” San Francisco stood by McDonald early in the season when he was accused of domestic violence; McDonald was arrested but never charged with the crime, and the accusation was eventually thrown out. However, two such allegations in a single season – the second of which led to the search of his home by the San Jose Police Department – was simply too much for the franchise to handle. “If this was one incident, we would be standing up here talking about due process, like we have multiple times, in multiple situations,” Baalke added. “But this is just a pattern of decision-making that Ray has demonstrated over a period of time that, once again, it’s no longer going to be tolerated.”

McDonald has been a solid contributor for the 49ers over the last eight seasons and was putting together arguably his second-best campaign with 39 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble through 14 games. He was in the first year of a five-year, $20.1 million contract that paid him $5 million as a signing bonus this season and an annual average salary of $4.02 million.

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