FOUR BITS: Nelson, Donovan, gymnastics, Foley

By Adam Silverstein
June 10, 2014

1 » New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson made headlines Monday by tweeting out a picture of himself teaching Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo how to throw an American football while the Portuguese National Team was working out at the training facility. But Nelson would not have even been at practice had he not been cleared by the Jets after being quarantined away from the team. Nelson, who does a ton of charity work in the offseason, got back from Haiti a few weeks ago but came down with a major illness – 104-degree fever and strep throat – after getting bit by a mosquito while out of the country. He rejoined his teammates last week and is now fighting for the No. 2 wideout job. Coming back in 2013 after tearing his ACL in the first game of 2012, Nelson bounced around before landing with the Jets. Catching passes from rookie quarterback Geno Smith, Nelson finished with 36 receptions for 423 yards and two touchdowns.

2 » With news leaking Monday of the Cleveland Cavaliers offering Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari an enormous contract to become president and coach of the franchise – one he turned down in order to stay at Kentucky – it was also once again reported that Cleveland has not given up on Florida’s Billy Donovan despite the Gators head coach not being overly interested in the opportunity. “Billy Donovan has remained in contact with Cavs but no one connected to [the] process believes he has comfort level to make [the] leap,” tweeted Yahoo! Sports’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Added FOX Sports’s Sam Amico: “[Conversations are] described as ‘back-channel discussion’ that’s unlikely, but not 100% dead.”‘s The Silver Lining has already covered Donovan’s comments about coaching in the NBA and potential for doing so in a column published on May 28 – be sure to check it out.

3 » The already-impressive three-member Florida gymnastics 2015 recruiting class added another high-profile member this week as seven-time Level 10 Junior Olympic champion Alex McMurtry decided to graduate high school a year early and join the Gators in two seasons. McMurtry joins Kennedy Baker and Grace McLaughlin (both members of the U.S. Senior National Team) and Ericha Fassbender (a former U.S. Junior National Team member) as freshmen on Florida in 2015. The Gators lost Mackenzie Caquatto, Alaina Johnson and Lauren Rose to graduation this season and will see Kytra Hunter, Jamie Shisler, Rachel Spicer and Kiersten Wang all depart the program after 2014.

4 » Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley is the third-highest paid at his position in the nation, according to a report from USA Today, which calculated the total pay earned by athletic directors in 2013. Foley earned $1.233 million, placing him behind Vanderbilt’s David Williams ($3.240 million) and Louisville’s Tom Jurich ($1.412 million). Williams’s salary is inflated in comparison to Foley’s and Jurich’s both because Williams works for a private university and holds a triple role as vice chancellor of the school and a tenured law professor. Foley began his career with the Gators in 1976 as an intern in the ticket office; 16 years later, he was hired as athletic director and remains the second-longest tenured at his position in the power five conferences. Foley and Jurich are widely considered the two best athletic directors in the nation.

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