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!

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

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4 NFL BITS: David Nelson signs with Steelers, Jaguars S Josh Evans gives inspirational speech

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver David Nelson – a five-year NFL veteran who had spent time in Buffalo, Cleveland and with the New York Jets – has been without a team since being waived by the Jets in mid-October after New York traded for his Florida teammate, WR Percy Harvin. On Wednesday, Nelson was finally picked up when the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a contract and reunited him with former Gators teammates center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

For Nelson, the Steelers signing comes nearly a month after he posted a deeply personal blog on his charity’s website. Asking, ‘Do I pursue my passion, or my heart?‘ Nelson explores how his i’mME charity changed his life but also made him a bit of an outsider in the NFL. “Since my release, there’s been hesitation to sign me to a contract, due largely to how I spend my free time [with my charity], even though it’s made me stronger – physically mentally, emotionally.” Nelson pointed out that “not one team” has said his talent was an issue; rather, “I’m hearing questions about my commitment because I’m outspoken about my nonprofit, and I do a lot to make it successful.”

Continue Reading » 4 NFL BITS: David Nelson signs with Steelers, Jaguars S Josh Evans gives inspirational speech

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Legendary NFL coach, historic Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger dies at 88

Former Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger, a figure who made one of the most important decisions in school history, passed away Friday in Athens, Alabama, at the age of 88.

Following a storied coaching career, Arnsparger was named Florida’s athletic director in 1986; he was tasked with cleaning up the Gators athletic program following numerous NCAA sanctions for rules violations.

As such, he hired two new coaches for the school’s primary athletic programs, bringing on former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier in 1990 to coach the football team and Lon Kurger for basketball in 1991. Spurrier, of course, turned the Gators’ football team into perennial winners and national champions in 1996. Kruger led Florida basketball to its first Final Four (1994).

Continue Reading » Legendary NFL coach, historic Florida Gators athletic director Bill Arnsparger dies at 88

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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.

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

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FOUR BITS: Patriots LB Brandon Spikes released after his car was found abandoned in a crash

1 » One day after it was reported by FOX 25 out of Boston that a Maybach Mercedes registered to New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was found abandoned on the median of a highway, the former Florida Gators player was released by the team. According to FOX 25, The OnStar representative from the car “told state police the driver of the care reported hitting a deer.” However, while an injured deer was not found near the scene, another car called in that it was rear ended at approximately the same time as the crash involving Spikes’s car. Spikes signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Patriots (with up to $1 million in incentives), returning to the team that drafted him after spending a season with the Buffalo Bills. His original tenure did not end well in New England, despite his close relationship with owner Bob Kraft, and his return to the franchise was a surprise. If this story sounds relatively familiar that is a vehicle belonging to former Miami Dolphins LB Channing Crowder was also abandoned on a highway in January 2008.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Patriots LB Brandon Spikes released after his car was found abandoned in a crash

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FOUR BITS: Former Gators safeties Matt Elam, Will Hill fighting for Ravens starting job

1 » The Baltimore Ravens pulled former first-round draft choice Matt Elam out of their starting rotation after Elam began disappointing with his play on the field. Elam shifting out allowed fellow former Florida Gators safety Will Hill to fill the void and has subsequently created a high-intensity training camp competition between the two teammates.

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, who stuck by Hill despite him being suspended for the first six games of the 2014 campaign due to a third NFL drug policy violation, is impressed with what he’s seen from the undrafted free agent. “I almost say [he’s] light-years ahead of where he was last year,” Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun. “He has been here every single day in the offseason that I’m aware of. Heck, he brought his family in here to work out with him when he was on his own. … I just think he has really dug in to have a great season, and we’ll see how it goes for him. But right now, he looks the part.” Elam is taking the competition in stride and remains confident he will be able to regain the job. “All I can say is, I can’t wait until September. I’m ready,” Elam said.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Former Gators safeties Matt Elam, Will Hill fighting for Ravens starting job

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FOUR BITS: Thompson, Butler, Pouncey, Bonner

1 » Florida Gators junior wide receiver Chris Thompson, who was excused from the team by head coach Jim McElwain while allegations of simple battery (dating violence) were flushed out, had the charge officially dropped by the state, according to Alachua County Court records. The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu spoke with State Attorney Bill Cervone, who said the alleged victim – an ex-girlfriend of Thompson – did not wish to pursue charges. Even if she had, it would have been unlikely that Thompson would have been found guilty of doing anything wrong. “He was legally entitled to make what is called ‘defense of his property,’ which in this case was his phone,” Cervone told the paper. “That’s what he was doing, and the injuries that resulted were inconsequential.” It is unknown if or when Thompson will rejoin the Florida football team.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Thompson, Butler, Pouncey, Bonner

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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.

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

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