SIX BITS: Easley, Parsons, Beisel, Gilbert, Haslem

1 » New England Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley is one of seven first-round selections in the 2014 NFL Draft who has not yet signed with his team. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, Easley and the Patriots are haggling over injury language in his contract, a sensible hangup considering he is coming off of a college career in which he suffered two torn ACLs. Easley also made the news last week for spending a weekend this month at a football camp held at Princeton by Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. Easley, as it turns out, attended the camp five years ago and wanted to give back. “The Easley story is a really good story,” Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. “He’s talked to the kids, and when he stands up there as the 29th pick of the first round and says, ‘I sat in that seat five years ago, so don’t tell me that you can’t do this.'” As it turns out, he’s pretty successful at the camp as the paper notes he won the team football event both as a player and in his first year as a coach.

2 » If you want to hear Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons discuss fashion for 17 minutes, you can do so by checking out the video below.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Easley, Parsons, Beisel, Gilbert, Haslem

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FOUR BITS: Hill, Tebow, Evans, Cunningham

1 » The New York Giants on Monday officially waived former Florida Gators safety Will Hill just days after the NFL officially suspended him for the first six games of the 2014 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Hill, who tested positive for marijuana for the second time as a professional, has now been suspended for drugs thrice in as many seasons (once for a performance-enhancing substance after testing positive for Adderall). The Giants gave Hill a chance despite his character flaws, signing him to a free agent contract in 2012 (after he went undrafted in 2011) and providing him with plenty of avenues for counseling and help should he need it during his tenure with the team. New York was willing to overlook his first transgression in 2012 as Hill claimed he needed Adderall for his attention deficit disorder but was perturbed when he was caught smoking marijuana in 2013. Three suspensions were simply too much for the Giants to stomach, even if Hill did amass 115 tackles (89 solo), two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), four pass defenses, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in two seasons.

2 » Quarterback Tim Tebow has not played a meaningful NFL snap since 2011 but has not given up on his dream of playing professional football even though he’s accepted a new role as analyst for the SEC Network. “I’m training every day and feel like I’m the best that I’ve ever been,” he told The Tennessean. “I still love it, love playing, talking about it, and I’m just excited about whatever the future holds. Who knows what could happen? But I’m excited about it, though.” Tebow will return to Gainesville, Florida, on Sept. 13 as the Florida-Kentucky game will be featured as the host of his SEC Nation game day program.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Hill, Tebow, Evans, Cunningham

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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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Aaron Hernandez indicted on 2012 double murder

Aaron Hernandez, a former tight end with the Florida Gators and New England Patriots currently in jail awaiting trial for the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, was indicted Thursday by a grand jury for a July 2012 double murder outside of a nightclub in Boston.

According to Ted Daniel of FOX 25, who first reported last June that Hernandez was being investigated for the double homicide, the incident included three men being shot, “two fatally, as they sat in a car at a traffic light. … A gray or silver SUV with Rhode Island plates opened fire on it.”

Investigators believed that a fight broke out at a nightclub called Curve in the South End between two men and a group of others that included Hernandez. After everyone left the club, someone from an SUV believed to contain Hernandez and his group allegedly opened fire on the vehicle.

Apparently, the SUV containing Hernandez circled the block numerous times waiting for the men to get out of the club and sit at the light.

“This case was about two victims who were stalked, ambushed and senselessly murdered,” the district attorney said on Thursday.

One theory as to Hernandez’s motive for allegedly murdering Lloyd was because he was a witness to this incident.

Continue Reading » Aaron Hernandez indicted on 2012 double murder

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FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Powell, Horford

1 » Teams understandably praise the players they draft, but Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly went above and beyond simply sharing the standard compliments when discussing Florida Gators cornerback Jaylen Watkins, his fourth-round pick, after making the selection. “Extremely high football intelligence,” he said of Watkins. “He has the speed to play corner, but sometimes when you’re drafting guys, you’re trying to project that maybe he can be this. Obviously, there is evidence of him playing safety and doing it at a really high level. He could be the quarterback of the defense because of his football intelligence, and we just thought that versatility and that football intelligence and character part of it, we thought it was a really good value, especially [on day three]. He’s one of those guys that we were really excited about [Friday] night, where if we didn’t get a great offer then we were going to stay right there and take Jaylen [with the first pick of the fourth round].” Watkins will start out at cornerback for the Eagles, according to general manager Howie Roseman (a Florida alumnus), but could play safety down the road as he develops and potentially adds more weight to his frame.

2 » The New England Patriots jumped at the opportunity to draft Gators guard Jon Halapio in the sixth round on Saturday with head coach Bill Bellichick “a little surprised to see him where he was” still available that late in the draft. While Halapio should make the team and could eventually develop into a starter in New England, he will also help the team’s first-round pick, Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley, with his transition to the NFL. “It’s good to have people [here] I’ve been around four years in college,” Easley said in his team press conference. “It makes it real comfortable.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Watkins, Halapio, Powell, Horford

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Florida junior CBs Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy lead list of undrafted Gators

Anywhere from six to eight Florida Gators were expected to be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the event came Thursday and ended Saturday with only four being picked up by professional teams out of 256 slots.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley (first round, No. 29, New England), cornerback Jaylen Watkins (fourth round, No. 101, Philadelphia), linebacker Ronald Powell (fifth round, No. 169, New Orleans) and guard Jon Halapio (sixth around, No. 179, New England) were all picked, but other Gators were not as lucky.

Junior CBs Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy, early entrants who were both projected as first-round picks by numerous draft analysts before the 2013 season, went undrafted during the three-day event.

Roberson’s injuries were likely the greatest deterrent to teams selecting him, though low testing numbers at the NFL Combine, a lackluster Pro Day and some off-field concerns also affected his draftability.

Purifoy did not progress as scouts hoped in terms of his coverage ability and overall play at cornerback during his junior campaign. Poor testing numbers and numerous off-field issues, including a run-in with the law for possession of marijuana and bath salts just two months before the draft, likely forced teams to bail on picking him up.

Continue Reading » Florida junior CBs Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy lead list of undrafted Gators

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New England nabs Florida G Jon Halapio with No. 179 pick in sixth round of 2014 NFL Draft

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


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

The New England Patriots went back to their Gainesville, Florida, well on Saturday, adding a former Florida Gators player for the second time in three days (and fifth time in five years) by selecting guard Jon Halapio with the No. 179 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

A solid high-intensity lineman who entered the 2013 season projected as a second-day selection, Halapio was unable to play up to his full potential due to a torn pectoral that severely hampered his movement and effectiveness. He is known as a tough and excellent run blocker who needs to improve in pass protection.

Halapio played 51 games and made 43 starts for 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 due to his pectoral injury.

He will begin his career as a reserve with the Patriots but could quickly develop into an NFL starter as his strength returns and technique improves.

Halapio is the first UF offensive lineman drafted since 2011 and 13th former Florida player selected by New England, joining first-round defensive tackle Dominique Easley in the team’s 2014 draft class.

The Patriots have selected multiple Gators in the draft three times, drafting two in 2006 (Chad Jackson, Jeremy Mincey) and three in 2010 (Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez).


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