Florida Gators in the NFL: Six advance to 2015-16 Conference Championship games

The 2015-16 NFL season has been an exciting one for former Florida Gators in the league, and it will continue during Conference Championship game action next week with six Gators representing three of the four teams hoping for an opportunity to play in Super Bowl 50.

Overall, 11 former Florida players were on the rosters of teams that played in Divisional Round games over the weekend. That’s down from the 18 that started the postseason on NFL rosters as seven were eliminated in the Wild Card Round.

Below is a look at the Gators moving on to the next round and those that have fallen along the way. Teams and players in blue have advanced to the Conference Championships.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Breakdown of 2015 preseason Weeks 3 and 4, cuts

The 2015 NFL preseason – and final cuts for teams – concluded Sunday with 38 former Florida Gators spread out over 21 of the 32 teams in the league.

Fifteen teams have multiple Florida players on their rosters entering the season including Denver and Pittsburgh (three each); Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington (two each).

Below are full updates on all the players that were on NFL rosters over the final two weeks of the preseason.

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Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Breakdown of 2015 preseason Weeks 1 and 2

The 2015 NFL preseason began two weeks ago with 48 former Florida Gators spread out over 23 of the 32 teams in the league.

Sixteen teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Denver, Miami, Philadelphia and Washington (four each); Pittsburgh (three); and Arizona, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay (two each).

Below are full updates all 48 players on NFL rosters, most of whom saw action over the first two weeks of the preseason. There are also select injury and status updates on some other Gators below.

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

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6 BITS: Mike Miller traded, Casey Prather headed overseas, Tim Tebow throws, McElwain praised

1 » Former Florida Gators guard/forward Mike Miller, who signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers to play with superstar LeBron James and hopefully win another title before retiring, has been traded by the franchise to the Portland Trailblazers. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the Miller trade, he will likely be bought out by Portland and become a free agent, though league rules prevent him from resigning with Cleveland for a full season.

With roster spots at a premium right now, Miller would likely have to wait to join a new team; he could also decide to retire. Miller, 35, is owed $2.85 million in the final year of his contract but will likely accept a buyout for a much lower amount. He has already received $400,000 as a trade kicker, a clause that was built into his Cavaliers contract.

Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Mike Miller traded, Casey Prather headed overseas, Tim Tebow throws, McElwain praised

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4 BITS: Chris Walker, Casey Prather join other Florida Gators in 2015 NBA Summer League

1 » It may have taken a bit longer than others, but it appears as if Florida Gators center Chris Walker has found a home for the 2015 NBA Summer League. As first reported by FOX 26 sports director Mark Berman, Walker could join the Houston Rockets for summer league play in Las Vegas from July 10-20. OnlyGators.com has confirmed that Walker is listed on the roster the team submitted to the NBA of projected players, though we were cautioned that could change ahead of the event in two weeks if the team does not like what it sees in tryouts. A league source has also told OnlyGators.com that forward Casey Prather will be a member of the NBA D-League select team after succeeding as a member of the Bakersfield Jam last season.

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Miami Dolphins sign Mike Pouncey to extension, making him the NFL’s highest-paid center

Former Florida Gators center Mike Pouncey became the NFL‘s highest-paid player at his position on Friday night when he agreed to a five-year, $45 million extension ($22 million guaranteed) with the Miami Dolphins.

The landmark deal signed by the No. 15 overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft will mark the second league-record contract secured by the Pouncey family in as many offseasons.

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4 BITS: Harvin, recruiting, Pounceys, McDonald

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin has found his fourth NFL home, signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Buffalo Bills for the 2015 season. Harvin, who has been traded twice in the last two years and was cut by the New York Jets this offseason, follows head coach Rex Ryan to the Bills. Injuries and character concerns have derailed Harvin’s NFL success, but he is still seen as an explosive playmaker who can be a difference-maker both on offense and special teams. The one-year deal allows him to prove his value and potentially facilitate a long-term deal with a franchise in 2016.

2 » Florida football is going young. How young? Well, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Gators recently sent offers out to a high school freshman in running back Lorenzo Lingard and an eighth-grader in wide receiver Blake Hinson. According to their head coaches, Florida’s offer is the third for each player; Lingard also heard from Georgia and Iowa, while Hinson was offered by Miami and North Carolina. How did the Gators go about offering an eighth-grader? Hinson’s coach, DJ Mayo, told the News-Journal that he showed the player’s tape to head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on his cell phone; an offer was sent the next day.

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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.”

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