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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SIX BITS: WNBA, Parsons, Dunlap, Starks, Wuerffel

1 » The 2013 WNBA season opens this week with two former Florida Gators players and two more former coaches spread across the league. Forward DeLisha Milton-Jones will be entering her 15th season as a professional but first with the San Antonio Silver Stars. Guard Aneika Henry joins the Atlanta Dream for her second season after averaging 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting .468 as a rookie in 2012. Former Florida head coach Carol Ross returns to the same position with the Los Angeles Sparks, and former Gators head coach Mickie DeMoss comes back as an assistant with the Indiana Fever. Gators center Jennifer George, who was selected in the third round of the 2013 WNBA Draft by the Fever, is not on the team’s roster.

2 » Second-year Houston Rockets F Chandler Parsons was asked to prom by a high schooler named Stephanie Flores in May. Though he had to decline her invitation as he was not in Houston, TX at the time, Parsons ensured that the student and her friends had a great time. He and the Rockets sent a party bus to escort Flores and her friends to and from the event, leading her to take the picture below.

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: WNBA, Parsons, Dunlap, Starks, Wuerffel

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FOUR BITS: Reed, Tatum, Mincey, Gilbert

1 » Despite signing a National Letter of Intent in February and expecting to be a member of the Class of 2013, three-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Scooba, MS) will not be joining the Florida Gators this season. Reed was hoping to obtain his associate degree from East Mississippi Community College in one year but is “roughly 25 credit hours short of obtaining” the degree “which is a requirement to enroll at an SEC school,” according to InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman ($). Most junior college players that transfer to four-year universities need two full years to amass the necessary credits to get their degree. Reed will spend the summer and fall at EMCC where he will complete his coursework and play junior college football for one more season. He should be able to join the Florida football program in the spring as an early enrollee with two years of eligibility left as a member of the Class of 2014.

2 » Is Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan primed to land his third big-name recruit out of St. Louis, MO? Hoping he follows in the footsteps of David Lee and Bradley Beal, Donovan has focused in on 6’6”, 180-pound Jayson Tatum as his next target out of St. Louis. Currently attending Chamindale College Preparatory School, where Lee and Beal both graduated, Tatum will be a sophomore next season and not able to join a college program until 2016. Nevertheless, Florida has already offered Tatum as has Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Missouri and Saint Louis, among others. He recently told ZagsBlog.com that UK’s offer was “really cool” because “Coach Cal is like a celebrity” though that may not be any indication of where he is leaning so early in the process. Tatum currently plays the one, two and three but is mostly a point guard at this time.

3 » Former Gators defensive end Jeremy Mincey signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 but enters the second year of his deal having underperformed in his first. After proving to be a difference maker for the Jaguars in 2011 (eight sacks, four forced fumbles, 57 tackles), Mincey played more snaps in 2012 but finished with just three sacks, two force fumbles and 41 tackles. He explained to The Florida Times-Union that playing 70+ snaps per game wore him down, but he did his best every time he stepped on the field. This season, Mincey is in for some increased competition at defensive end now that Jacksonville has been able to add Jason Babin off waivers from Philadelphia. With Babin likely to start at one end, Mincey will be competing for a starting job, playing time and his contract as he is due $4.475 million (a jump of nearly $3 million from his 2013 salary) in 2014. “I can do a lot more this year. I’ve got a lot of good players around me. I’ve just got to embrace my role,” he said. “Trust me, I’ll findme a spot somehow someway. I fit right in. I can do it all.”

4 » Former Florida tackle Max Starks saw his nine-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers come to an end this offseason when he inked a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers and became tasked with protecting the blindside of a quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger. As it turns out, Roethlisberger may not have to worry too much about the left side of his offensive line as another former Gators tackle, Marcus Gilbert, is in a competition with Mike Adams to win the job. Like Starks, Gilbert started his career at right tackle for Pittsburgh but is now looking to make the move to left, a position that is not only more valuable on the field but usually results in fatter contracts because of its importance. “Obviously, the left side is more important, the quarterback has to have trust in you,” Gilbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Right now, I feel really confident with what I have to bring on the left side in protecting Ben’s blind side. I know he’s highly confident in me, too.”

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Tebow nearly leads Broncos to comeback win

The Denver Broncos faithful have been waiting, hoping and – yes – praying for quarterback Tim Tebow to take the reins of their team this season.

With the Broncos sporting a 1-3 record and losing 23-10 to the San Diego Chargers at halftime on Sunday, they finally got their wish.

Tebow entered Sunday’s contest for a two-yard rush earlier in the game but took over for veteran QB Kyle Orton in the third quarter. At that point, Denver’s sole touchdown was a result of an interception return that occurred in the first quarter.

He came in after Orton had completed just 6-of-13 passes for 34 yards with an interception and started slow but eventually changed the complexion of the game.

Tebow was 1-for-5 on his first three drives; two of them went three-and-out and all three ended with a punt. Denver got the ball back at midfield with 8:34 remaining in the game, and that is when Tebow began leading the comeback.

After running back Willis McGahee hit a hole for 28 yards, Tebow avoided a pass rush on the next play and scrambled for 11 yards. He then took a designed draw up the middle 12 yards for a touchdown, and McGahee followed to score the two-point conversion.

The Broncos recovered a fumble on the ensuing possession, providing Tebow with another short field. He ran for eight yards on the first play and threw a screen pass on the third that RB Knowshon Moreno took 28 yards for a touchdown. Denver went for another two-point conversion to tie the game, but wide receiver Brondon Lloyd dropped a fade from Tebow that hit him in the hands.

San Diego ran out the clock and hit a field goal after that, and Denver started out at their own 20 with just 24 seconds left in the game. Tebow responded by completing consecutive passes of 20 (a redemption grab by Lloyd) and 31 yards to lead the Broncos down to the Chargers’ 29-yard-line with one second to go.

Taking the final snap of the afternoon, Tebow scanned the field for an open receiver, scrambled for five seconds (avoiding three sacks) and threw an incompletion into the end zone to conclude the game. The home crowd chanted “Tebow, Tebow” after the incomplete pass as he was interviewed on the field afterward.

He finished having completed just 4-of-10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown (for a QB rating of 101.7) but also carried the ball for 38 yards and another score.

Tebow has now thrown and rushed for a touchdown in all five NFL games in which he has attempted at least two passes (three starts).

Denver has a bye next week and will play its next game on the road against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 23. Miami has decided to honor the Florida Gators 2009 BCS National Championship team that day with a special on-field ceremony. Former Florida head coach Urban Meyer and a number of former Gators players will be in attendance.

Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

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Chiefs LB Brandon Siler out for the season

Signing a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent this offseason, former Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Siler hoped to prove that he was capable of being a productive starter in the league so he could earn a long-term contract.

Unfortunately Siler will not have that opportunity this year and will miss the entire 2011 season after tearing his Achilles tendon during practice on Tuesday and undergoing surgery the same day, a source close to the player told OGGOA. Kansas City is expected to place him on injured reserve soon.

The Chiefs were planning to start Siler this season and believed in his long-term potential. He totaled four tackles (three solo) in two preseason starts this year.

A seventh-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers who amassed 123 tackles, three sacks, a safety and two interceptions in four seasons with the team, Siler registered 44 tackles (34 solo) in 12 games in 2010.

Though he played in 58 games over four years, Siler did not earn his first start for the Chargers until 2009. He held that role for 12 of 28 games over his final two years with the franchise before San Diego allowed him to walk as a free agent in the offseason.

Siler is one of the league’s biggest Gator Chompers and tied for first place in the 2010 OGGOA NFL Chomp-O-Meter standings with four on the season.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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Siler, Harvey with new teams on one-year deals

Two members of the Florida Gators defense that helped bring home the 2006 National Championship, linebacker Brandon Siler and defensive end Derrick Harvey found homes with new NFL teams on Monday.

Siler – a seventh-round draft of the San Diego Chargers who amassed 123 tackles, three sacks, a safety and two interceptions in four seasons with the team – was allowed to walk as a free agent and agreed to a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Though he played in 58 games over four years, Siler did not get his first chance to start for San Diego until 2009. He had started 12 of 28 games over the last two seasons for the Chargers, but the team decided to let him seek greener pastures in the offseason.

On the other side of the fence, Harvey was the No. 8 overall pick of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and struggled in three years with the club. After amassing 3.5 sacks in nine starts over 16 games as a rookie, Harvey started every game in 2009 but only managed to total 57 tackles and two sacks. He has registered 88 tackles in three seasons along with eight sacks and one interception.

Harvey was cut by Jacksonville last week and decided to join a rebuilding Denver Broncos team. Quarterback Tim Tebow was already on the club as a holdover from last season, and linebacker A.J. Jones was picked up as an undrafted free agent one week ago. The team recently traded wide receiver Jabar Gaffney but decided to bring back defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, signing him to a contract on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Scott Boehm

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Former Florida WR Reche Caldwell arrested

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Reche Caldwell was arrested early Thursday morning near Tampa, FL and charged with two misdemeanors including possession of marijuana (less than 20 grams) and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Caldwell played most of his career with the San Diego Chargers (2002-05) before spending one season each with the New England Patriots (2006) and Washington Redskins (2007).

He was released after five hours on a $750 bond, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Photo Credit: Unknown

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Two former Gators selected in 2011 UFL Draft

The 2011 NFL Draft came and went last weekend with four former Florida Gators selected during the three-day event.

Center Mike Pouncey was chosen by the Miami Dolphins in the first round, tackle Marcus Gilbert was picked in the second round and is headed to join Pouncey’s brother with the Pittsburgh Steelers, safety Ahmad Black had to wait until the fifth round to be selected by his childhood favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Washington Redskins gave guard Maurice Hurt a chance in the seventh round.

The United Football League held its third draft on Monday with two former Florida players earning unique opportunities.

Cornerback Reynaldo Hill, a four-year NFL veteran (Tennessee Titans, 2005-08), was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the first round by the Omaha Nighthawks. Hill was a seventh round pick by Tennessee in 2005 but has been out of the league for years.

Defensive tackle Ian Scott, a seven-year veteran and fourth round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 2003 NFL Draft, was chosen No. 30 overall in the sixth round by the Virginia Destroyers and head coach Marty Schottenheimer. After playing for Chicago (2003-06), Scott had a short stint with the Philadelphia Eagles (2007) before finishing his career with the San Diego Chargers (2008-09).

The duo join former Gators guard Tavares Washington in the UFL; Washington has played the last two seasons for the Las Vegas Locomotives.

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