Mike Pouncey served grand jury subpoena “related to” Aaron Hernandez investigation

Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey, a teammate and close friend of tight end Aaron Hernandez when both men played for the Florida Gators, was served a grand jury subpoena by the Massachusetts State Police shortly after his team’s 27-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough, MA.

According to SI.com’s Pete Thamel and Greg A. Bedard, who broke the story Sunday evening after speaking with a “source with knowledge of the matter,” the subpoena served to Pouncey is “related to” the Hernandez investigation.

The source indicated that police are focusing in on Hernandez’s potential involvement in interstate gun trafficking, which is being investigated by several agencies in multiple states — at least Massachusetts, New York and Florida.

The extent of Pouncey’s potential involvement is undetermined, but police are focusing on multiple transactions that involve him and Hernandez.

Pouncey has not been charged with a crime as of press time. Whether he is in the future remains to be seen. More likely than not, investigators see him as a material witness in their case against Hernandez, one who may be able to assist the state in gathering the necessary evidence to achieve a conviction once the case goes to trial.

Hernandez has been charged with first-degree murder – and five other gun-related offenses – in the September death of Odin Lloyd. He is also considered to be a prime suspect in a July 2012 double murder committed in Massachusetts and a February 2013 shooting of an associate in South Florida.

RELATED: Documents paint damning picture for Aaron Hernandez

It is unknown whether Pouncey’s brother, Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, has also been subpoenaed.

RELATED: Pouncey brothers wear “Free Hernandez” hats to club

This story is currently developing and OnlyGators.com will have more information as it is made available.

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TWO BITS: Spikes paid? Foley vs. agents.

1 » Georgia-based football agent Terry Watson of Watson Sports Agency, who is facing 14 felony counts for violating North Carolina’s athlete agent law, may have made payments to Shelby, North Carolina-native linebacker Brandon Spikes, potentially while he was a student-athlete playing for the Florida Gators. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, which cites interviews and court documents relating to the state’s case against Watson, “athletes at three schools other than UNC have been named in court papers” including one from the University of Florida.

Relating specifically to Spikes, the paper sources Patrick Jones, listed as a “close friend of Watson’s,” who “recalls wiring money to Brandon Spikes” but is unable to pinpoint an exact date. “One affidavit appears to document Jones providing Spikes with $212 in March 2011,” which is nearly a year after he was selected by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

2 » In related news… Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is one of 65 athletic officials whose name appears at the end of a nine-page memo calling for major changes to agent laws. According to the Associated Press, the memo pushes “for changes that would include broadening the law to cover agents, runners, financial advisers, marketers or anyone else who tries to sign athletes or provide gifts to jeopardize their eligibility” and was sent Thursday to a United States government “committee that will meet later this month in Chicago to consider updates to the Uniform Athlete Agents Act.” The law, which currently exists in 41 states along with the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands, was adopted in 2000 by the Uniform Law Commission.

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FOUR BITS: NFL, Donovan, Mooney, Parsons

1 » The names of a few former Florida Gators popped up on the NFL transaction wire this week. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and wide receiver David Nelson were signed by the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, respectively, on Tuesday. Cunningham was released by the New England Patriots after never even suiting up for the team during the offseason, and Nelson was cut by the Cleveland Browns after his knee flared up during the preseason.

On the other side of the coin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived safety Ahmad Black (who started for them this season), and the St. Louis Rams cut offensive tackle Max Starks, who was signed just two weeks ago.

2 » ESPN’s Andy Kats noted on Wednesday that Gators head coach Billy Donovan has decided not to take advantage of the NCAA pushing up the start of basketball practice and will instead begin Florida workouts on Friday, Oct. 11. He opines that the move is being made to give senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin extra time to get back in the team’s good graces. Though that may have an ounce of truth to it, the actuality is Donovan would prefer to have his team practice more in a shorter period of time rather than three total hours per week over an additional month. “[He] likes to hold double sessions over weekends and you only have 30 practices over 42 days before [the] season opener,” correctly noted The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway.

3 » Grabbing a recruit three years before he graduates high school is a risky proposition, but it sounds like the Gators’ latest basketball pledge is in for the long haul. 2016 power forward John Mooney (Altamonte Springs, FL) committed to Florida on Saturday, the school he has always wanted to attend. “I don’t see this being an Austin Rivers situation at all,” Mooney’s head coach at Lake Brantley High School, Mike Cuff, told Brockway. Cuff also said Mooney averaged a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman on varsity despite only taking 6-7 shots per game. Brockway also spoke with Mooney’s Nike Team Florida coach Tom Topping, who noted that the player “projects as one of the better basketball players in his class,” something that is “not just my opinion.”

4 » Grantland.com’s Juliet Litman takes a closer look at Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons and his incredibly busy summer, which she concludes is an “aggressive attempt to become a famous athlete/fashion icon,” something she personally finds “strangely endearing.” OnlyGators.com will be speaking with Parsons prior to the start of the 2013-14 NBA season.

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SIX BITS: Demps, Beal, Murphy, Horschel, Easley

1 » Former Florida Gators running back Jeff Demps is active on an NFL regular season roster for the first time in his career as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to bring him aboard on Monday, the cut-off date established by the league for Demps’s roster exemption. Demps was traded by the New England Patriots to Tampa Bay in April but did not put on a helmet until after the preseason concluded as he spent the entire summer and offseason running track. Now officially a member of the Bucs, Demps will likely handle kick return duties and play sparingly on offense. He has not played a snap of meaningful football since Jan. 2, 2012.

2 » Out of work since being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offseason following an arrest (on a charge that was later dropped), RB Chris Rainey has received a couple of workout opportunities over the last few months. His latest was with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday. According to ProFootballTalk.com, Rainey ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash during the workout, but “the Chiefs have decided that they currently don’t have a spot for him.”

“Ran a 4.29 in the 40 and kill the workout too. Waitin on the Kansas City chiefs to get back at me or Watever team now. God is Good!!!” Rainey tweeted on Monday.

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS (two videos)…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Demps, Beal, Murphy, Horschel, Easley

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TWO BITS: Will Powell or Tebow play tight end?

1 » A nugget of news was buried deep in a well-written Yahoo! Sports feature on Florida Gators redshirt junior linebacker Ronald Powell. According to Eric Adelson, Powell revealed that there have been internal discussions about him seeing some time at tight end once it is determined that he is fully healthy. “Once I’m feeling good,” he said, “I’m sure they’ll work something in for me.” Powell was recruited by then-Florida head coach Urban Meyer at both defensive end and tight end and told he would have the opportunity to play both. Once Meyer left and head coach Will Muschamp took over, Powell transitioned to the BUCK position and the Gators simply did not have a need for him on offense with Jordan Reed still on the roster. But with Florida now struggling to find playmaking ability among its current tight ends and Powell finally healthy, his versatility may very well be utilized by the coaching staff this year.

2 » According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, quarterback Tim Tebow turned down an “inquiry” from an NFL franchise to join the team’s roster at a different position. King reported this nugget Thursday night on NBC, noting that the player remains focused on playing quarterback in the league. “I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback,” said Tebow in a prepared statement after being released by the New England Patriots.

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SIX BITS: Cooper, ESPN, Jeroloman, Tebow, Miami

1 » It has been three weeks since Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper (due to the vile word he uttered) has been in the news, but he made headlines on Thursday for getting into a fight with cornerback Cary Williams during practice. The two began to scuffle following a tackle with Williams going after Cooper again after the teammates were separated. Starting quarterback Michael Vick stepped between the two and Williams was escorted away. After the incident, Cooper said he did not believe the fight had anything to do with the prior controversy surrounding him. Williams refused to speak with reporters and noticeably ignored Cooper in the locker room later that day.

The video below – annoyingly – auto-starts, so be sure to pause / mute as necessary.

2 » The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson investigated the reason that such a high profile game between the No. 9/12 Florida Gators and No. 24 Miami Hurricanes was being played in the extreme heat of high noon when so many other television slots that day were filled with sub-standard games. The reason? As hard as ESPN tried, the network simply could not fulfill Miami’s request to have the game at any other time – even on a different station – due to a number of different restrictions.

3 » Former Gators catcher Brian Jeroloman got absolutely crushed during a recent minor league game. Playing for the Harrisburg Senators, a Double-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, Jeroloman was waiting at home plate for a relay throw when Brandon Douglas plowed through him and knocked the ball free.

Check out three more BITS (and a bonus video)…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Cooper, ESPN, Jeroloman, Tebow, Miami

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Patriots release Gators QB Tim Tebow; others cut

For the third time in an NFL career that has spanned as many full seasons, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has been dismissed by the franchise to which he was under contract as the New England Patriots decided to release the former Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday as they were forced to cut 22 players in order to whittle their roster down to 53 players ahead of the 2013 season.

ESPN‘s Adam Schefter first reported Tebow’s release via Twitter.

It took one month after being waived by the New York Jets for Tebow to be signed by New England, the team that always seemed like the best fit for his unique talents.

The Patriots acquired Tebow as a quarterback and waived Mike Kafka in order to bring him into the fold. In joining New England, he reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who selected him with the No. 25 overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft while serving as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

But McDaniels’s desire to give him an opportunity and owner Robert Kraft’s affection for him as a person were simply not enough to keep Tebow on the 53-man roster.

In 2011, during his second year with the Broncos, Tebow was a mid-season replacement at starting quarterback and set the league on fire by leading his team to numerous come-from-behind victories and seven wins in eight games from Weeks 7-14. He also threw a game-winning overtime touchdown against Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round of the 2012 NFL Playoffs, going went 10-of-21 for 316 yards with two passing touchdowns while carrying the ball 10 times for 50 yards and a rushing score.

Continue Reading » Patriots release Gators QB Tim Tebow; others cut

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TWO BITS: Hernandez & Meyer allegations, Tebow

1 » A post on RollingStone.com detailing six revelations from an upcoming Rolling Stone magazine investigation into former Florida Gators and New England Patriots tight end Aaron Herndez alleges that then-Florida head coach Urban Meyer “may have helped cover up failed drug tests, along with two violent incidents – an assault and a drive-by shootout outside a local bar.” Though both of these incidents – the assault outside The Swamp Restaurant in April 2007 and shooting in Sept. 2007 – have been public knowledge for quite some time, the magazine appears to be taking the story a step further by noting that Meyer may have been heavily involved in ensuring Hernandez did not get in trouble for his actions (admitted in the case of the assault and alleged in the case of the shooting). Other tidbits from the story include Hernandez being a “heavy user of angel dust” who was on the verge of being cut by the Patriots.

UPDATED Aug. 28 at 10:45 a.m.: In the story, which can be read in full by clicking here, writer Paul Solotaroff simply recounts Hernandez’s time at Florida sourced by a “local reporter who was covering the team.” Regarding Meyer and any potential cover-up to Hernandez’s misdeeds, nothing new is reported but the contention is made that Meyer covered up multiple failed drug tests in order for Hernandez to retain his eligibility to play in games, an allegation that Meyer and Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley have both previously denied.

RELATED from June 25: Foley defends Florida’s handling of Hernandez
RELATED from July 6: Urban Meyer: Florida did not enable Hernandez

2 » Speaking of New England, team owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday that he is “rooting … big-time” for back-up quarterback Tim Tebow to make the team out of training camp. “He’s a very special young man. He’s been a real joy to have around here,” Kraft said, according to the Boston Globe. Though the decision will be up to head coach Bill Belichick and the player has been anything but impressive thus far during practice and preseason action, Tebow should have an opportunity in the team’s final preseason game when he is expected to play the entire second half.

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