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March 5, 2013
3/5 Orange & Blue News
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators quarterback Tim Tebow parting ways with the New York Jets has been a long time coming. But with just one week to go until free agency hits (and New York can cut Tebow loose), the Jets' new general manager may very well have other plans. In a conference call on Monday, GM John Idzik indicated that Tebow may very well be in training camp to compete for the open quarterback job, going head-to-head with Mark Sanchez and likely at least three other signal callers. "Tim, as you know, he's currently on our roster. What we're doing is we're trying to increase competition at that position and positions across the board," said Idzik, according to the New York Daily News. "So we're going to let the competition play out. We're going to see who we're able to bring on board and let it play out this offseason and into training camp. So I think that'll be healthy for all concerned, including Tim." Two things here. First, New York did trade two picks for Tebow (and paid nearly $3 million in guaranteed money upon acquiring him), so not cutting him loose right away makes sense if the Jets and new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (father of Gators QB Skyler Mornhinweg) think they can use him either as a starter or situational player. Second, in case you thought New York was done killing Tebow's career and value, imagine if they do keep him on the roster through training camp (or at least half of camp) and then cut him, leaving him as a free agent that is even more difficult for another team to bring in the fold in the middle of a training camp session.
As former Florida players continue to dominate the NBA, a pair of reserves wound up leading their teams in scoring on Monday. Center Marreese Speights, now a spot starter for the Cleveland Cavaliers after being traded before the deadline, hit his first 10 shots on Monday and finished 10-for-14 for a team-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds. Similarly, Denver Nuggets forward Corey Brewer played 28 minutes off the bench on Monday, scoring a team-high 22 points while registering four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Brewer went head-to-head with the Atlanta Hawks and center Al Horford in that contest; Horford, of course registered another double-double with 18 points and 13 boards. In total, four former Gators led their respective teams in scoring on Monday as Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee posted 29 points, 11 rebounds and five dimes for his NBA-leading 40th double-double of the season.
The 2013 season may very well be the last for Brandon Spikes in a New England Patriots uniform. Set to earn $630,000 in the final year of his four-year rookie contract, Spikes wants to get paid and took a big step to earning a large deal by changing agents for the third time in as many years. Spikes has left Drew Rosenhaus for Premier Sports & Entertainment and will be represented going forward by Gary Uberstine and Eric Kaufman. While there should be plenty of offers for Spikes if he does wind up reaching free agency in 2014, his relationship with New England owner Robert Kraft could lead to him staying put with the Patriots as long as he is willing to risk a backloaded deal. Tight end Aaron Hernandez inked a team-friendly seven-year, $41.12 million deal with New England in 2012 but is only set to earn $1.3 million in 2013, $1.2 million in 2014 and $2.3 million in 2015 (payments balloon after that). Hernandez did receive a fat $12.5 million signing bonus, however.
On Sunday, No. 4 Florida women's tennis dropped its second match of the season, falling 4-3 to No. 6 Texas A&M on the road in College Station, TX. The news was much better for the rest of the Gators' top-five women's teams, however, as No. 2 gymnastics registered a school-record score of 198.425 to take down No. 14 Minnesota, No. 2 lacrosse got a measure of revenge with a 14-10 victory over No. 4/5 Syracuse, and No. 4 softball swept the weekend with five more wins. Softball took down Florida A&M 20-2 on Saturday (hitting a school record eight home runs including four back-to-back in the first inning and two grand slams) and defeated Presbyterian 11-0 on Sunday (three-pitcher perfect game).
Realistically, former Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has a fantastic chance of being a top-five pick and potentially going within the first three selections of the 2013 NFL Draft. However, as each day passes, Floyd's stock seemingly continues to rise and now there are some actually talking about him going No. 1 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. Though Kansas City is expected to continue running a 3-4 defense and Floyd is considered elite as a 4-3 tackle, he can certainly play in both defensive sets and be a difference maker. With the Chiefs deciding to franchise tag offensive tackle Branden Albert, picking that same position No. 1 overall in the draft may be something Kansas City opts out of doing. That is one reason that Floyd is suddenly in play for the Chiefs. Whether the team winds up going in that direction is another story.
Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino hit his first major league home run (albeit in spring training) over the weekend but that has already become a distant memory as he received even better news on Tuesday. Zunino has been named a finalist for the 83rd annual AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which is presented to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States each year. The field is stacked against Zunino as Gabrielle Douglas, Missy Franklin and Brittney Griner are just some of the well-known names he will be competing with for the award. Tebow previously received the prestigious honor in 2007.