FOUR BITS: Harvin, Cooper, Hammond, Sturgis

1 » Perhaps one of the most overlooked stories entering the 2014 NFL season is the health of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. One of the best playmakers in the league over the last five seasons, Harvin has only played in 12 games over the last two years including just three in 2013. But Harvin made an impact in Super Bowl XLVIII when he returned the returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, and he almost won the game’s Most Valuable Player honor for it. Now, the defending Super Bowl champions get a healthy Harvin for presumably the entire season.

“He’s a tremendous threat,” head coach Pete Carroll told the media on Monday. “You can feel his speed and that burst that he has, really challenges you. You don’t know if he’s going to go all the way so just the opportunity to give them that problem makes them stay up a little later, trying to figure out how to stop him.” Added Harvin: “My body is feeling tremendously good. I’ve actually reached some gears that I didn’t know I had. I’m feeling very, very fast right now.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Harvin, Cooper, Hammond, Sturgis

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13 Gator Bites for Friday, June 13: Graham, Dendy, Harvin, Haslem, softball, MLB, Parsons

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Florida Gators redshirt sophomore guard Dillon Graham on Friday tweeted that he has “finally [been] cleared” by team doctors after missing most of the 2013-14 season following surgery to repair bone spurs in his hips. Less than a month ago, head coach Billy Donovan said he did not expect Graham to be cleared for contact until August or September. Doctors are likely allowing Graham to work out and practice in non-contact situations at this time. “He’s missed a whole entire year of development and now you’re talking about an entire summer and into the fall without it,” Donovan said on May 22. “So, when he does get back, what is he like as a player and maybe how long does it take to get him back to maybe where he was? I think that’s going to be a long process for him.”

» Florida junior jumper Marquis Dendy on Thursday captured the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championship in men’s long jump. The outdoor long jump title in school history, Dendy’s 8.00m/26-3 championship-winning mark was his best of the season. Actually, all three of his jumps would have won the crown for Dendy, who previously won the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championship in the same event. He did not even need to take the last jump but chose to do so because he was “in the moment” and also wanted to qualify nationally in the event. He returns to the field on Saturday for the men’s triple jump, an event UF has dominated in recent years.

Continue Reading » 13 Gator Bites for Friday, June 13: Graham, Dendy, Harvin, Haslem, softball, MLB, Parsons

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FOUR BITS: Caldwell, Mincey, Spikes, Roper

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Andre Caldwell re-signed with the Denver Broncos on Tuesday, inking a two-year deal worth a maximum of $3.45 million to remain with the team. Caldwell was signed by Denver in 2012 when the Broncos signed quarterback Peyton manning and was not given the opportunity accomplish much his first season. Last year, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks before exploding on Dec. 2, 2013 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He caught 12 passes over the final five games and was held without a reception in Super Bowl XLVIII. With Denver not expected to re-sign WR Eric Decker, Caldwell could have a greater opportunity to contribute in 2014.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Caldwell, Mincey, Spikes, Roper

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Florida Gators in the NFL: Percy Harvin, Marquand Manuel, Dan Quinn win Super Bowl XLVIII

The 2013-14 NFL season concluded on Sunday as six people with ties to the Florida Gators were on teams competing for the league’s championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Seattle defeated Denver 43-8 to pick up a decisive and dominant Super Bowl victory.

Below are full game statistics for the three former Gators that competed in the Super Bowl along with a variety of notes about former Florida players in the Big Game.

ACTIVE (3)
WR PERCY HARVIN, Seattle Seahawks: One reception for five yards; two carries for 45 yards; 87-yard kickoff return for touchdown [137 all-purpose yards]
» “It’s just a big horse off my back,” Harvin said after the game, according to Sports Illustrated. “I finally was able to give my team something for four quarters. That meant a lot to me. Being injured all season took a toll on me. Being able to finish and being able to give my teammates something back — because I leaned on those guys so much this year to keep me up in spirits and just keep me going — it meant the world to me.”


WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Denver Broncos: Played as a reserve
DE JEREMY MINCEY, Denver Broncos: Four tackles

INACTIVE / INJURED (1)
LB LERENTEE McCRAY, Denver Broncos*: Injured – ankle (injured reserve)

COACHES (2)
Defensive coordinator DAN QUINN, Seattle Seahawks
» Quinn found Peyton Manning’s tell, and Seattle’s defense exploited it.
» Missing out on numerous head coaching opportunities, Quinn explained to ESPN why he did not meet with teams during the playoffs and the run up to the Super Bowl. “To me, it was important [to remain focused],” he said. “The relationship I have with these players, to understand we’re all in it together – I couldn’t be more proud to be part of that group.”
Defensive assistant MARQUAND MANUEL, Seattle Seahawks

SUPER BOWL XLVIII NOTES
» Harvin joins Dallas Baker, Jeff Mitchell, Justin Trattou and Deonte Thompson as the only five players in Gators history to win an SEC Championship, national title and Super Bowl ring in their respective careers.
» It is the 12th consecutive year that a former Florida player has been on a roster of a Super Bowl team and the fifth time in the last six that one has won a Super Bowl ring.
» It is the ninth time in the last 15 years that the Gators had a player on both teams.
» Overall, Florida has 24 total Super Bowl rings won by 17 different players over 18 separate Super Bowls.

Players with their name in orange won Super Bowl XLVIII.
* Rookie

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FOUR Super Bowl BITS: Harvin, Caldwell, Mincey

1 » For Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, Super Bowl XLVIII will be just the third game he has played in all season long. Though he has totaled just 19 snaps, four receptions and 38 yards (along with one carry for nine yards), Harvin is seen by many as a potential X-factor for Seattle in its duel with the Denver Broncos. Tom Pelissero of USA Today opined Saturday that Harvin will wind up being the game’s Most Valuable Player, and history can certainly back up that proclamation. During the 2007 BCS Championship, Harvin scored a touchdown and totaled 82 yards on 11 touches. He also happened to be the Florida Gators’ leading pass catcher that day both in receptions (nine) and yards (60). Two years later, Harvin likely would have been the 2009 BCS Championship’s Most Outstanding Player had it not been for quarterback Tim Tebow’s performance. In that game, Harvin returned from an ankle injury to amass 170 total yards and a touchdown. He once again had team-highs of nine receptions and 121 receiving yards in the contest. Harvin is listed at 18-to-1 to win Super Bowl MVP honors with an over/under of 51.5 receiving yards and 1.6-to-1 odds of scoring a touchdown. Would you really bet against him?

2 » Denver Broncos WR Andre Caldwell signed up to catch passes from QB Peyton Manning but did not get much of an opportunity to do that last season. He was moved from No. 3 receiver to the bench and barely got on the field. Even in 2013, Caldwell only caught five passes through the first 14 weeks of the season before exploding on Dec. 12 with six receptions for 59 yards and his team’s only two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to San Diego. He has seen more snaps with each passing game and now has the opportunity to play for a championship. “We have so much talent in the receiving corps, I’m the forgotten man,” Caldwell told CBSSports.com during Super Bowl Media Day on Thursday. “It’s humbling, but it makes me work a little harder. People forget about me on Media Day and during the game, but it just makes me work hard. But I prepare like I’m a starter anyway. I know when my opportunities come, I have to make them so people don’t forget about me.” He added: “This is something I couldn’t have imagined. I was fighting for my career and now I’m in the Super Bowl. And I’m actually playing.”

Continue Reading » FOUR Super Bowl BITS: Harvin, Caldwell, Mincey

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Tim Tebow shines in T-Mobile Super Bowl ad

Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow may be out of work on the gridiron, but he has been keeping busy with his new job as an analyst for ESPN and the upcoming SEC Network. Due in part to that relationship, he made a special appearance on sister network ABC on Friday as a special guest co-host for Good Morning America.

While on the show, Tebow debuted a 60-second advertisement set to run during Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday. It pokes good-natured fun at Tebow’s current contract situation (or lack thereof) as part of T-Mobile’s “No Contract” campaign.

Tebow is depicted taking advantage of all the things he can do now that he is not under a contract, such as delivering a baby, rescuing puppies from a burning building, headlining a rock-and-roll tour and more. Check out the extremely well-done spot below:

There are also two 30-second versions. According to Ad Age, the commercials will run in the second, third and fourth quarters of the game. Check them out:

Continue Reading » Tim Tebow shines in T-Mobile Super Bowl ad

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Harvin, Mincey, Moss, Roberson

1 » ABC is making the most of its subsidiary’s employment of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, according to The Hollywood Reporter, by having the Heisman Trophy winner sit in Friday as a guest co-host on Good Morning America. Tebow, who signed with ESPN in December to cover college football and be the face of the SEC Network (set to launch as its own channel in August), will join the Time Square-based show to discuss the forthcoming Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and his former team, the Denver Broncos.

2 » The highest-profile former Florida player actually participating in Sunday’s big game is Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has a penchant for stepping up when championships are on the line. Harvin was cleared to return to practice last Wednesday and will be full-go for the Super Bowl with head coach Pete Carroll saying the playmaker has looked “great” in practice. Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey called Harvin “a dangerous man” on Sunday, “one of the most explosive guys coming off the ball” and someone who can “change the game.” Harvin on Tuesday declared himself “ready to go.” “This is what I live for,” he said. “I’m used to playing in big games since I was younger, whether it was in Pop Warner or the two with the Gators.” As a freshman, Harvin picked up 82 total yards and a touchdown in Florida’s 41-14 2007 BCS National Championship win over Ohio State. Two years later in the 2009 BCS National Championship, Harvin exploded for 171 yards and a touchdown in UF’s 24-14 victory against Oklahoma.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Harvin, Mincey, Moss, Roberson

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FOUR BITS: Walker, Quinn, Pro Bowl, Harvin

1 » Joining a bevy of national analysts to come to the defenses of Florida Gators freshman forward Chris Walker, who has missed nine games this spring without receiving clearance or any information as to when a decision ill be reached on his eligibility by the NCAA, is ESPN‘s Jay Bilas. On Wednesday, Bilas sent the following tweet: “Dear NCAA: Chris Walker and Florida have waited long enough. The DMV now believes you are slow and inefficient.” He expanded on that thought Thursday in a conversation with Florida Today. “One, I don’t think it’s any of the NCAA’s business,” Bilas said. “But even if it is, it’s taken way too long. At some point you have to say, ‘You know what? We don’t have it. And until we do, the kid can play.’ They’ve got a clock ticking and the NCAA kind of tends to look at from their own perspective in that, we don’t want somebody else to run out the clock while we investigate. … At some point you’ve got to say, you know what the delay is unreasonable. It’s hurt the kid, it’s hurt the school and it’s just wrong.”

2 » Due to the Seattle Seahawks remaining in contention throughout the 2013-14 NFL Playoffs and ultimately earning a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII, former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has been unavailable for head coaching job interviews despite the fact that three teams – Minnesota, Tennessee and Cleveland – reportedly had him as a frontrunner for their vacancies. Quinn told the media Thursday that he is not frustrated about the situation because it ultimately means his team has the chance to play for a title. “None. No, certainly not,” he said. “I couldn’t be more fired up to be a part of this and moving forward here keeping the focus on our team, which it is.” Quinn had never even held a coordinator job until Gators head coach Will Muschamp hired him in 2011. After just four seasons (assuming he remains in his current position with Seattle in 2014), his dream of leading a team could finally come true next offseason.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Walker, Quinn, Pro Bowl, Harvin

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