2 BITS: McDonald arrested; Patton, Demps signed

1 » San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, a seven-year NFL veteran who just last week restructured his contract, was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of felony domestic violence. According to NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo, who broke the story on Twitter, the San Jose Police Department confirmed McDonald was arrested at approximately 2:45 a.m. when officers were called to a residence. Trujillo, citing sources, further reports that the alleged domestic violence victim is pregnant. This is the second time in his professional career that McDonald has been arrested for a felony; he was first popped for driving under the influence in 2010.

Three days ago, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced harsher penalties for players and league employees involved in domestic violence or sexual assault incidents. A six-game suspension will be handed down to first offenders with a second violation resulting in an indefinite suspension that could on appeal last at least one season but may potentially be a lifetime ban. McDonald will be the first player testing these rules, though it is not known when or how the league will choose to hand down these penalties. With Goodell and the league under so much scrutiny following the seemingly slap-on-a-wrist two-game suspension dealt to running back Ray Rice, there is more pressure than ever for the NFL to act swiftly in these situations.

2 » Wide receiver Solomon Patton and running back Jeff Demps were two of three former Florida Gators players cut by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. Both players have since cleared waivers and will now be signed to the team’s practice squad, according to Tampa Tribune beat writer Roy Cummings. Safety Major Wright, also cut by the Bucs, was one of four other Gators that received their walking papers on Saturday. The others included offensive linemen Jon Halapio (New England) and Maurice Hurt (Washington) and defensive end Justin Trattou (Minnesota).

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Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 4 + Cuts

The 2014 NFL preseason continued on Thursday with 44 former Florida Gators spread out over 22 of the 32 teams in the league.

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

Below are full game statistics for all 24 players that saw action along with select updates on some Gators during the fourth week of the preseason.

NFL teams were forced to make final cuts on Saturday as they pared down their rosters to 53 players. Six former Florida players were cut on Saturday, and one more on Sunday, leaving 37 on rosters heading into Week 1 of the regular season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

TE TREY BURTON*, Philadelphia Eagles: Six receptions [team-high] for 45 yards (targets: 6, long: 21), touchdown
» An undrafted free agent, Burton made Philadelphia’s 53-man roster.
WR SOLOMON PATTON*, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Two receptions for 34 yards [team-high] (targets: 6, long: 25), touchdown; two kickoff returns for 39 yards (long: 20); punt return for nine yards
» Patton, an undrafted free agent, was cut by the Bucs on Saturday.

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

Continue Reading » Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 4 + Cuts

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 3

The 2014 NFL preseason continued with 46 former Florida Gators spread out over 23 of the 32 teams in the league.

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

Below are full game statistics for all 36 players that saw action along with select updates on some Gators during the third week of the preseason.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

DE JAYE HOWARD, Kansas City Chiefs: Started | solo tackle, sack, forced fumble (safety)

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 3

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 2

The 2014 NFL preseason continued with 46 former Florida Gators spread out over 23 of the 32 teams in the league.

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

Below are full game statistics for all 35 players that saw action along with select updates on some Gators during the second week of the preseason.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR Deonte Thompson: Target; three kickoff returns for 188 yards, touchdown (108-yard return)

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 2

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Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 1

The 2014 NFL preseason kicked off with 45 former Florida Gators spread out over 23 of the 32 teams in the league.

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

Below are full game statistics for all 37 players that saw action along with select updates on a number of Gators during the first week of the preseason.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
DB JAYLEN WATKINS*, Philadelphia Eagles: Two solo tackles, interception (one yard), pass defense

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2014 Preseason Week 1

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Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

Round 1 – No. 29
Dominique Easley, DT
New England Patriots


Height: 6’2″ – Weight: 288 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Senior

One of the final first-round selections to come to terms with his team, Florida Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley officially became a member of the New England Patriots on Monday by signing a four-year, $7.3 million contract.

The No. 29 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Easley likely would have been selected earlier had it not been for injury concerns stemming from two torn ACLs suffered in college.

It is because of these injuries that Easley and the Patriots took a while to get a deal done. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, the two sides were haggling over injury language in the contract. As it turns out, Easley will receive a $3.6 million signing bonus with 80 percent of his contract ($5.9 million) guaranteed, according to Volin.

Continue Reading » Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

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Patriots ink G Jon Halapio to rookie contract

Round 6 – No. 179
Jon Halapio, G
New England Patriots


Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 323 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Redshirt senior

Florida Gators guard Jon Halapio officially became a member of the New England Patriots on Monday, signing a four-year, $2.34 million rookie contract with the team.

The No. 179 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Halapio is a solid, high-intensity lineman who is known as an excellent run blocker but player that needs to improve in pass protection. He played 51 games and made 43 starts during his career with the Gators, starting at right guard for the last seven games of 2010, all of 2011 and 2012, and the final 10 games of 2013 after missing the first two while recovering from a torn pectoral.

OnlyGators.com learned the details of Halapio’s contract on Thursday. He will earn $450,775 as a rookie in 2014, including a $420,000 base salary and one-quarter of his $123,100 signing bonus, which will be paid out over the duration of his contract. His annual average salary is $585,775, and his deal maxes out at $720,775 in 2017.

“[I’m going to] just come in there and do what is asked of me from the coaches and contribute. Whether it is to be a backup or whatever my role may be, my mindset is to come up there and just start from the bottom and work hard every day and contribute to team success,” Halapio said after being drafted.

The first Florida offensive lineman drafted since 2011 and 13th former Gators player selected by the Patriots, Halapio joins first-round defensive tackle Dominique Easley on the team. New England has selected multiple Florida players in the draft three times, picking two in 2006 (Chad Jackson, Jeremy Mincey) and three in 2010 (Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez).

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FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Pouncey, Colbert

1 » Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jaylen Watkins and New England Patriots guard Jon Halapio, both third-day selections in the 2014 NFL Draft, signed rookie contracts with their respective teams on Monday. There is already talk that Watkins may be able to push for a starting cornerback job at some point this season, though Philadelphia’s plan right now is to work him out at corner, nickel and safety in order to figure out how he can contribute the most from the get-go. Halapio is expected to start out as a reserve in New England, which is trying to strengthen its offensive line this offseason. OnlyGators.com will post full stories on each signing once it is able to obtain the detailed contract information for the players.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Pouncey, Colbert

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