Silver Lining for May 20: Updates on Florida Gators in the NFL; farewell to David Letterman

Get them to sign on the line which is dotted

Three weeks have passed since the 2015 NFL Draft and Florida Gators have spent the time signing rich contracts to play professional football.

The most notable deal struck to this point was that between No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler Jr. and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Despite the defensive end suffering a season-ending torn ACL in his very first NFL practice and signing an injury waiver, the Jaguars did not force offset language into his contract and still inked him to a four-year, $23.5 million fully-guaranteed deal with a $15.3 million signing bonus. Fowler will bring home $4.27 million this season without stepping foot on the field.

Continue Reading » Silver Lining for May 20: Updates on Florida Gators in the NFL; farewell to David Letterman

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Four Florida Gators sign undrafted free agent deals, others receive NFL tryouts

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Quinton Dunbar, tight end Clay Burton and defensive tackles Darious Cummings and Leon Orr signed three-year, $1.575 million undrafted free agent contracts with teams following the 2015 NFL Draft.

Dunbar was signed by Washington and Burton was picked up by the Buffalo Bills, while Cummings was grabbed by the Carolina Panthers and Orr moved out to the west coast with the Oakland Raiders.

Continue Reading » Four Florida Gators sign undrafted free agent deals, others receive NFL tryouts

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Passion, family made DL coach Terrell Williams leave the NFL – and California – for Florida

More Florida Gators assistant features: Randy Shannon | Geoff Collins | Tim Skipper

Playing, coaching and talking about the defensive line is what life is about for new Florida Gators assistant Terrell Williams. Well, that and his family, with those two passions combining into a perfect storm that led him to Gainesville, Florida this week.

Williams, a Los Angeles, California, native who has spent the last three years of his career coaching with the Oakland Raiders, turned down the chance to sign a new contract to remain with the Raiders – “I was offered a contract to stay. I had a couple more opportunities.” – to move across the country with his family.

“I’ve had opportunities to leave for college before at a couple different powerhouse school, but I just felt like Florida was a great opportunity for me and my family right now,” he said on Thursday.

“My wife is from Fernandina Beach, Florida. She went to Florida A&M. Both her parents are Gators; they have engineering degrees from here. I just felt like it was a great opportunity. … You don’t just leave the NFL to go coach at any college; I felt like this was a special opportunity for me at this time.”

Continue Reading » Passion, family made DL coach Terrell Williams leave the NFL – and California – for Florida

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Former Gators OL Mo Collins, 38, has died

Former Florida Gators offensive lineman Mo Collins, a three-year starter and a member of the Gators’ 1996 National Championship team, passed away Sunday morning. He was 38.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Collins “had been receiving dialysis treatments for kidney failure.”

Collins spent the last year as head coach of West Charlotte High School, his alma mater. He originally joined the program as an offensive line coach in 2013 and took over head coaching duties this season after the team went winless last year. At the time of his passing, West Charlotte had a 4-5 record, posting its most victories since 2010.

While at Florida, Collins won two SEC Championships (1995-96) and played in two national title games (1995-96) with the Gators.

Following his redshirt junior season, Collins decided to become a professional and was selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He spent his whole six-year career with the Raiders, starting 64 of the 71 regular-season games in which he appeared and playing in Super Bowl XXXVII.

OnlyGators.com sends our condolences and best wishes to the Collins family.

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FOUR BITS: Floyd, NFL, Demps, WWE, Lee

1 » It has been a busy last few days in Gainesville, FL for Florida Gators hoping to continue their football careers and be selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. On Friday, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Lerentee McCray and wide receiver Omarius Hines (who just ran the 40-yard dash in an effort to improve his time) participated in a private Pro Day on campus. Floyd and McCray both sat out Florida’s first Pro Day on March 12. According to NFL.com, 14 teams were in Gainesville to watch Floyd including the Oakland Raiders (No. 3 overall pick) with general manager Reggie McKenzie. NFL Network was there to watch Floyd; this report (which was followed by a lengthy discussion) was aired on Friday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter added that, on Monday, a collection of officials from the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 1 overall pick) – including general manager John Dorsey – held a private workout with Floyd.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was also in Gainesville over the weekend first to watch his daughter (an assistant coach for Ohio State’s lacrosse team) on Saturday and then to hold a private workout with five Florida players on Sunday, OGGOA has learned. Participating in Sunday’s private workout were McCray, linebackers Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, safety Josh Evans and defensive lineman Earl Okine. The only other person in attendance to watch the workouts was Belichick’s right-hand man, New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Floyd, NFL, Demps, WWE, Lee

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SIX BITS: NFL, Rainey, Beal, Rosario, track

1 » In addition to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey (who is expected to be released from his contract) and Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson (a restricted free agent), six other former Florida Gators currently under contract with NFL teams will be unrestricted free agents the day after the Super Bowl. Those players include Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Louis Murphy, Kansas City Chiefs LB Brandon Siler, Oakland Raiders guard Cooper Carlisle, Pittsburgh tackle Max Starks and Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman.

On rosters for Super Bowl XLVII are San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald and Baltimore Ravens WR Deonte Thompson. The end result and may very well come down to which quarterback stands out and makes as few mistakes as possible.

2 » Speaking of Rainey, the former Gators running back had his recent simple battery charge reduced to disorderly conduct by Alachua County Judge Walter Green after the State Attorney’s Office decided it did not have enough evidence to pursue the more serious offense. The judge withheld adjudication and fined Rainey $200 to go along with court costs of $300 for the offense, effectively ending the legal issue, according to Florida Today. The alleged victim in the case denied that Rainey hit her the day after his arrest and contradicting statements from witnesses made the state’s case inconclusive. The Steelers announced the day of Rainey’s arrest that they had decided to waive him; however, NFL transactions made during the postseason cannot be completed until after the Super Bowl. With the charges being significantly reduced, Pittsburgh could theoretically have a change of heart or consider bringing Rainey back on a cheaper free agent contract.

Check out four more BITS of Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: NFL, Rainey, Beal, Rosario, track

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WR Louis Murphy traded to Carolina Panthers

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Louis Murphy has been traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional seventh-round pick, according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports and Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Murphy, who performed well during his first two seasons with Oakland after being selected in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, ran into some health issues in 2011 and caught just 15 passes for 241 yards in 11 games as a reserve last year.

He hauled in 34 balls for 521 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie in 2009 and had 41 receptions for 609 yards with two scores in 2010.

Murphy was not guaranteed to earn a roster spot this season as the Raiders have steadily been upgrading their receivers. He is set to earn $1.26 million in the final year of his contract, which made him an attractive trade piece.

With the Panthers, Murphy will catch passes from former Florida teammate quarterback Cam Newton and has the opportunity to compete for a spot as one of the team’s top receivers behind veteran Steve Smith.

Photo Credit: Unknown

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TWO BITS: Olympics, Murphy, Gators in Africa

1 » Currently competing at the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela are former Florida Gators point guard Nick Calathes (Greece) and forward/center Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and redshirt senior guard Mike Rosario. Each competed with their country in preliminary round action early in the week and saw their teams pick up at least one victory; all advanced to the quarterfinals and will have the opportunity to move on to the semifinals without eliminating each other. Greece faces Nigeria, the Dominican Republic takes on “Macedonia” and Puerto Rico squares off with Lithuania all on Friday.

Calathes posted 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting with two rebounds and three assists in Greece’s 107-63 victory over Jordan on Monday and followed that up with eight points on 2-of-6 shooting with three rebounds and five assists in a 98-84 victory over Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Horford dominated the Dominican Republic’s 95-85 victory against Korea on Tuesday with a team-highs of 30 points, 12 boards and four dimes while going 10-of-14 from the field; he posted similar statistics in his team’s 84-69 loss to Russia on Wednesday when he posted team-highs of 22 points and nine boards, adding four assists while going 10-of-12 from the floor. Rosario did not play much in either game and combined for a total of six points and four rebounds while hitting just 1-of-6 shots over the course of his 14 minutes. Puerto Rico toppled Jordan 93-52 on Tuesday but fell to Greece on Wednesday. The top two teams from each group advanced.

2 » After performing well during his first two NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, wide receiver Louis Murphy ran into some health issues in 2011 and was not able to contribute much, catching just 15 balls in 11 games as a reserve for 241 yards. With the 2012 season about to begin, the Contra Costa Times’ Steve Corkran believes “Murphy is in a fight for [the] final two [receiver] spots on the roster due to the fact that a pair of rookies – fifth-round pick Juron Criner and undrafted free agent Rod Streater – came on strong during minicamp and have impressed coaches. Murphy is due $1.26 million in the final year of his contract and certainly wants to put together a “contract-year” performance before becoming a free agent in 2013.

Extra BIT » Six current Gators student-athletes – junior center Patric Young, junior forward Will Yeguete, junior running back Trey Burton, sophomore tight end Clay Burton, sophomore hurdler Katrina DeKrey and junior thrower Ashley Miller – recently participated in a week-long mission trip to Africa sponsored by the organization Athletes In Action. While there, the guys played soccer with some children and Yeguete took a pair of videos of the players taking penalty kicks.


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