10 Gator Bites for Friday, April 18

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics (20-2) opens up competition in the semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Championships on Friday as it looks to defend the program’s first-ever NCAA National Championship by advancing to the Super Six for the eighth time in the last nine years. UF will compete against Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State, UCLA and Utah on Friday at 8 p.m. in Birmingham, AL with the top three finishers moving on to compete Saturday at 7 p.m. A live video stream of Friday’s event is available by clicking here. ESPN3.com will air Saturday’s Super Six and Sunday’s individual event competitions.

» Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley drew some positive reviews out of his Pro Day workout on Thursday even despite the fact that he was only competing at about 80-85 percent as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. According to Sports Illustrated contributor Tony Pauline, Easley is “drawing heavy interest” from Chicago, New England, San Francisco and Seattle with the aforementioned teams believing he will go in the second round of May’s 2014 NFL Draft.

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FOUR BITS: Spikes, Murphy, Wright, Tebow

1 » Linebacker Brandon Spikes became the third former Florida Gators football player to find a new home this offseason when he agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Buffalo Bills in late March. Spikes is guaranteed just $900,000 (his signing bonus) as part of the deal, which has a base salary of $1.25 million and an additional $1.1 million available via bonuses. he can also earn up to $250,000 through incentives. Though Spikes was a favorite of New England owner Robert Kraft, he did not enjoy his time with the Patriots. Especially bothersome to Spikes was the fact that he played injured the entire 2013 season and was suddenly placed on injury reserve before a playoff game despite not suffering a setback. Now Spikes will be able to go head-to-head with his former team as he is on another squad in the AFC East.

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FOUR BITS: Caldwell, Mincey, Spikes, Roper

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Andre Caldwell re-signed with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, inking a two-year deal worth a maximum of $3.45 million to remain with the team. Caldwell was signed by Denver in 2012 when the Broncos signed quarterback Peyton manning and was not given the opportunity accomplish much his first season. Last year, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks before exploding on Dec. 2, 2013 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He caught 12 passes over the final five games and was held without a reception in Super Bowl XLVIII. With Denver not expected to re-sign WR Eric Decker, Caldwell could have a greater opportunity to contribute in 2014.

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FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Haslem, Wright, Hodskins

1 » His behavior in the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal taken into consideration, former Florida Gators center Mike Pouncey remains in the Miami Dolphins future plans, according to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, who reported Friday that the team is “committed” to Pouncey and plans in May to pick up a team option to keep him in Miami for a fifth season in 2015. Pouncey is set to earn $1.63 million in 2014 and will likely want to renegotiate his contract after the Dolphins pick up their option. This in theory would give the team a full season to evaluate Pouncey’s behavior off of the field and give them more data to decide whether or not signing him to a huge deal would be a wise long-term investment. “Pouncey is an excellent player,” new Miami general manager Dennis Hickey said on the radio Thursday. “I’ve had good conversations with him in the last month. I’m excited about the future.”

2 » Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem is playing the fewest minutes of his career, shooting career-lows from the field and charity stripe and barely making an impact on the court for the defending champions, but his selflessness, relationship with the franchise and impact in the locker room all kept him off the trading block this season. According to Dan LeBatard, Miami rejected a trade offer from Philadelphia that included Evan Turner even though Turner would have been able to give the Heat an extra scorer off the bench, help their title chances this season and save the team $4.62 million against the luxury cap next season. By doing so, Miami is showing considerable loyalty to Haslem, who sacrificed more than $10 million in salary as a free agent in 2010 to sign with his hometown team (where he has played since 2003) rather than move elsewhere. The undrafted free agent out of Florida is a three-time NBA champion with the Heat (2006, 2012-13) and Miami’s all-time leading rebounder.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 17 (2013)

The 2013 NFL regular season concluded this week with 35 former Florida Gators spread out over 20 teams.

Ten teams have multiple Florida players on their respective rosters including Miami (four); Denver and Washington (three each); Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets and Pittsburgh (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 23 active players that participated this week along with select news updates on a number of Gators for the final week of the regular season.

A total of 12 former Florida players are on rosters of eight teams that have advanced to the 2013-14 NFL Playoffs. Two of those players are out for the season due to injury.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 16 (2013)

The 2013 NFL regular season continued this week with 34 former Florida Gators spread out over 20 teams.

Ten teams have multiple Florida players on their respective rosters including Miami (four); Denver and Washington (three each); Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets and Pittsburgh (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 23 active players that participated this week along with select news updates on a number of Gators for the 16th week of the regular season.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
S WILL HILL, New York Giants: Started | 11 tackles (six solo) [team-highs], pass defense, interception return for touchdown (38 yards)
» Hill was arrested Friday for nonpayment of child support but still played Sunday.
WR DAVID NELSON, New York Jets: Started | four receptions for 33 yards (targets: 5, long: 15), two touchdowns
» Nelson had his first career two-touchdown game. He caught his first touchdowns both in the 2013 season and as a member of the Jets. Nelson had not found the end zone for a score since Nov. 27, 2011…against New York.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 15 (2013)

The 2013 NFL regular season continued this week with 33 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 teams.

Eleven teams have multiple Florida players on their respective rosters including Miami (four); Washington (three); Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets and Pittsburgh (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 24 active players that participated this week along with select news updates on a number of Gators for the 15th week of the regular season.

* Rookie

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Denver Broncos: Six receptions for 59 yards [team-highs] (targets: 10, long: 15), two touchdowns
» Caldwell had a career night on Thursday, scoring two touchdowns in a single game for the first time as a professional. His six receptions were the most he’s grabbed in a contest since Sept. 25, 2011, and Caldwell’s 59 receiving yards were also the most he had in a game since Nov. 20, 2011.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!
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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 14 (2013)

The 2013 NFL regular season continued this week with 34 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 teams.

Twelve teams have multiple Florida players on their respective rosters including Miami (four); Washington (three); Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, N.Y. Giants, N.Y. Jets and Pittsburgh (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 23 active players that participated this week along with select news updates on a number of Gators for the 14th week of the regular season.

* Rookie

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
C MIKE POUNCEY, Miami Dolphins: Started
» Pouncey sprung Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas on a 55-yard run late in the fourth quarter that resulted in Miami’s game-winning touchdown.
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Started | three receptions for 74 yards [team-high] (targets: 9, long: 44), two-point conversion

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

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 14 (2013)

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