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

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!
Continue Reading » Former Gators in the NFL: 2013 Preseason Week 1

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FOUR BITS: Reed, Tatum, Mincey, Gilbert

1 » Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but is “roughly 25 credit hours short of obtaining” the degree “which is a requirement to enroll at an SEC school,” according to’s Blake Alderman ($). Most junior college players that transfer to four-year universities need two full years to amass the necessary credits to get their degree. Reed will spend the summer and fall at EMCC where he will complete his coursework and play junior college football for one more season. He should be able to join the Florida football program in the spring as an early enrollee with two years of eligibility left as a member of the Class of 2014.

2 » Is Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan primed to land his third big-name recruit out of St. Louis, MO? Hoping he follows in the footsteps of David Lee and Bradley Beal, Donovan has focused in on 6’6”, 180-pound Jayson Tatum as his next target out of St. Louis. Currently attending Chamindale College Preparatory School, where Lee and Beal both graduated, Tatum will be a sophomore next season and not able to join a college program until 2016. Nevertheless, Florida has already offered Tatum as has Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Missouri and Saint Louis, among others. He recently told that UK’s offer was “really cool” because “Coach Cal is like a celebrity” though that may not be any indication of where he is leaning so early in the process. Tatum currently plays the one, two and three but is mostly a point guard at this time.

3 » Former Gators defensive end Jeremy Mincey signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 but enters the second year of his deal having underperformed in his first. After proving to be a difference maker for the Jaguars in 2011 (eight sacks, four forced fumbles, 57 tackles), Mincey played more snaps in 2012 but finished with just three sacks, two force fumbles and 41 tackles. He explained to The Florida Times-Union that playing 70+ snaps per game wore him down, but he did his best every time he stepped on the field. This season, Mincey is in for some increased competition at defensive end now that Jacksonville has been able to add Jason Babin off waivers from Philadelphia. With Babin likely to start at one end, Mincey will be competing for a starting job, playing time and his contract as he is due $4.475 million (a jump of nearly $3 million from his 2013 salary) in 2014. “I can do a lot more this year. I’ve got a lot of good players around me. I’ve just got to embrace my role,” he said. “Trust me, I’ll findme a spot somehow someway. I fit right in. I can do it all.”

4 » Former Florida tackle Max Starks saw his nine-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers come to an end this offseason when he inked a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers and became tasked with protecting the blindside of a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger. As it turns out, Roethlisberger may not have to worry too much about the left side of his offensive line as another former Gators tackle, Marcus Gilbert, is in a competition with Mike Adams to win the job. Like Starks, Gilbert started his career at right tackle for Pittsburgh but is now looking to make the move to left, a position that is not only more valuable on the field but usually results in fatter contracts because of its importance. “Obviously, the left side is more important, the quarterback has to have trust in you,” Gilbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Right now, I feel really confident with what I have to bring on the left side in protecting Ben’s blind side. I know he’s highly confident in me, too.”

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Steelers waive former Gators RB Chris Rainey

The Pittsburgh Steelers have waived 2012 draft selection and former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey.

Selected by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Rainey performed well in his rookie season with the Steelers but was released by the franchise on Thursday after being arrested for a domestic violence incident.

“Chris Rainey’s actions this morning were extremely disappointing,” team general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Rainey played in all 16 games for Pittsburgh in 2012, carrying the ball 26 times for 102 yards with five touchdowns as a running back. He also grabbed 14 receptions for 60 yards, returned 39 kickoffs for 1,035 yards (long: 68) and returned three punts for 16 yards. He had a stellar preseason for the team with two long offensive touchdowns and a pair of punt returns for touchdowns as well.

The team reportedly used Rainey’s previous transgression as a motivator during practice throughout his rookie season. Head coach Mike Tomlin supposedly used a version of his unfortunate “time to die” text message as part of that motivation. “OK, 22, time to die!” he apparently yelled during the first full-contact practice of his career. “I hear it every day, about five times a day,” Rainey said at the time. “It’s all good. I made a bad mistake in the past but I’ve moved on. It’s funny now.”

Rainey signed a four-year, $2.282 million contract with the Steelers and received a $181,000 signing bonus along with a $390,000 salary in 2012. He was set to earn $480,000 in 2013, $570,000 in 2014 and $660,000 in 2015.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he had another brush with the law just last month as he was “cited for defiant trespass, a summary offense, when he entered the Meadowlands Racetrack and Casino outside Washington, PA., after he had signed himself onto a self-exclusion list.” A self-exclusion list, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, exists as a safeguard that a person can request as a measure to ban oneself from such facilities under penalty of a fine.

Rainey was one of four former Gators on the team. The three former Florida players remaining on Pittsburgh’s roster include center Maurkice Pouncey, left tackle Max Starks and right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

OGGOA RELATED: Former Florida RB Rainey arrested for battery

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Steelers

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FOUR Tebow BITS: Support, video, blame, waive

1 » In the wake of reports that raised questions about New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow‘s character, two former Florida Gators student-athletes and a Hollywood celebrity have come out in support of the signal caller. Former teammate now Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey yelled out “Free Tebow” when he left the team’s locker room on Wednesday. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Marcus Gilbert and former defensive back Dorian Munroe both tweeted “#FreeTebow” on Thursday afternoon. Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons delivered the same sentiment via his Twitter account. Additionally, Hollywood actor Josh Duhamel, best known for his roles in the Transformers movies and on the television program Las Vegas, yelled at ESPN analyst Merril Hoge on Twitter.

2 » Next Media Animation also centered its latest release around Tebow and head coach Rex Ryan sabotaging his NFL career.

3 » columnist Ian O’Connor took it to the Jets in a big way on Thursday, saying that the blame for this situation begins and ends with the coaching staff and not Tebow himself. “But in assessing Tebow’s grisly one-and-done with the Jets … this much is clear: Rex and his offensive coordinator, Tony Sparano, are far more to blame than tiny Tim himself.” He continued, “Ryan and Sparano never had any idea how to use Tebow, and they ultimately provided him with workplace conditions unhealthy enough to turn the sport’s ultimate good guy – an athlete with an even cleaner image than [Derek] Jeter’s – into a me-centric whiner who landed in Rex’s office last week to tell his boss to take his job and shove it. Sort of.” O’Connor also blamed Urban Meyer for failing Tebow and not spending “more time fixing the kid’s windup delivery” but said that Tebow “should have been a useful hybrid player when Sanchez was going OK, and he should’ve been the permanent replacement when Sanchez was not.”

4 » USA Today columnist Mike Garafolo, also taking Tebow’s side in this situation, believes that New York should have cut the player loose days ago for his own good. “Here’s all you need to know about how badly things are mismanaged, misrepresented and miscommunicated inside the walls of the New York Jets’ facility: They got Tim Tebow to snap. And now, they need to let him go,” he wrote. Garafolo breaks down how the Jets have wasted a year of Tebow’s career and should at least give him the ability to be picked up via waivers by his likely new team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, which are second in waiver priority. “Let him get to the facility, start working with the organization, get used to the playbook … and end this season with a smile on his face. … All Tebow wants is a chance to play. Second on that list would be some clarity.”

Extra BIT » Greg McElroy, New York’s third-stringer who replaced starter Mark Sanchez and leapfrogged Tebow for that opportunity, was injured in last week’s game. Ryan said Thursday that he woke up in the morning with bad headaches, so he has decided to return Sanchez to the starting role. “Obviously Tim’s not happy with that [decision],” Ryan said in a press conference.

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FOUR BITS: Cunningham, Gilbert, volley, Quinn

1 » New England Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating its performance-enhancing substances policy. The substance Cunningham used was not disclosed and it is currently unknown if he already filed or plans to file an appeal. Cunningham is the fourth former Florida Gators defender to receive a four-game suspension for PEDs since 2010. New England linebacker Brandon Spikes (2010), Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (2012) and New York Giants safety Will Hill (2012) have missed four games each. All three claimed their positive tests resulted from an ingredient contained in ADHD medication like Adderall. Cunningham would be eligible to return in the playoffs.

2 » Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert is one of four former Gators on his team and one of three Florida offensive linemen that got injured this season. Unfortunately for Gilbert, while center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Max Starks were able to return to action, he has been sidelined since Week 6 with an ankle injury and was officially placed on the team’s injured reserve on Monday. He is the third former Gators player to be knocked out for the season with an injury, joining Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson (ACL) and Patriots running back Jeff Demps (leg).

3 » Following in the footsteps of the soccer program, which cleaned up at the Southeastern Conference‘s annual awards announcement, Florida volleyball matched the program with three major awards and a number of placement on the All-SEC teams. Junior middle back Chloe Mann captured SEC Player of the Year honors, outside hitter Ziva Recek brought home SEC Freshman of the Year honors and Mary Wise was named SEC Coach of the Year for the 13th time. The Gators note that “this is the first time since 2000 and second time in program history for Florida” to win all three awards. Mann is the 17th player in team history to win Player of the Year, and Recek is the fourth UF freshman to be honored by the league in that capacity. Also honored Monday were junior setter Taylor Brauneis and senior right-side Tangerine Wiggs, who joined Mann and Recek on the All-SEC first team; senior MB Betsey Smith on the All-SEC second team; and Recek again on the All-Freshman team.

4 » Three members of the Gators football team have been named finalists for yearly national awards. Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis is one of three finalists (Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins, Tulane’s Cairo Santos) for the 2012 Lou Groza Award and sophomore punter Kyle Christy is one of three finalists (Louisiana Tech’s Ray Allen, Ball State’s Scott Kovanda) for the Ray Guy Award, both of which will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. live on ESPN.

Joining them is defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who is one of five finalists for the 2012 Broyles Award, which is presented to the top assistant college football coach in the nation. The other finalists are Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, Notre Dame DC Bob Diaco, Texas A&M OC Kliff Kingsbury and Stanford DC Derek Mason. Quinn has UF’s defense ranked top-15 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (No. 1), scoring defense (No. 3), yards per play (No. 3), yards per attempt (No. 4), third-down defense (No. 5), rush defense (No. 6), interceptions (No. 6), yards per rush (No. 7), red zone touchdowns (No. 13) and red zone defense (No. 15).

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SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

1 » Earlier this week, ESPN‘s Kirk Herbstreit broke down Saturday’s game between the No. 2 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks on the network.

2 » After releasing a star-filled injury report earlier in the week, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday that it looks like almost all of his big-name players will be in action on Saturday against Florida. The one exception, of course, is defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who has an injured shoulder but will also be suspended for punching a player during last week’s game against LSU. Running back Marcus Lattimore (hip) is still not slated to start but is expected to play after going through a full practice on Thursday. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (foot) is also good to go, as are a number of players who were hit with a flu bug over the course of the week, Spurrier said.

Check out four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: ESPN, Lattimore, Steelers, Henry, Noah

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6 (2012)

Now six weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season, there are 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 22 players participated in week six action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the sixth week of the 2012 regular season.

CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Seven tackles (six solo), interception (14-yard return), three pass defenses^
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings 11 receptions for 133 yards (targets: 14, long: 23) [team-highs]; two carries for one yard, fumble (not lost); three kick returns for 100 yards (long: 45)^

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 6 (2012)

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 5 (2012)

Five weeks into the 2012 NFL regular season there are 32 former Florida Gators football players spread over 23 teams.

A total of 22 players participated in week five action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performance.

For the third-straight year, OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplished during the fifth week of the 2012 regular season.

WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings Eight receptions for 108 yards (targets: 10, long: 45) [team-highs], touchdown; two carries for eight yards (long: 4), touchdown

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NFL played this week…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 5 (2012)

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