Joe Haden Dismissed From Cleveland Browns Practice

Former Florida Gators star Joe Haden was kicked out of Cleveland Browns practice on Wednesday. The third-year pro was dismissed for being too rough with rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin. Call it what you want, but the Browns deemed Haden’s play too intense for practice and told the former orange and bluer he needed to leave.

In the end, it was a non-issue as Browns’ head coach Pat Shurmur* said the matter was resolved quickly and everyone will move on from the situation. Haden has developed into a reliable defensive back in the NFL and will be counted on to be a leader in Cleveland; you know, when he isn’t beating up on rookie receivers.

*Now taking bets on the number of games Shurmur remains with the Browns. We’ll set the over/under at 24.

Jeff Demps Signs With New England Patriots

The trend of Bill Belichick picking up Florida Gators is continuing Friday. Jeff Demps – the Gators’ former speedster – decided to sign with the Patriots after much interest in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Demps will join his former teammates Jermaine Cunningham, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes in New England. The Patriots look to be Super Bowl contenders again after losing to the New York Giants last year. Demps should be used in many ways by the offensive mastermind that is Belichick and his speed will fit well on an already quick roster.

It’s unlikely that Demps has been chosen to replace Wes Welker at the slot position obviously because of the wide skill gap, but Demps should play some roles in the receiving game.

Bill Belichick should find some ways to use Demps that we never had imagined, and it will be interesting to watch Demps in his transition back from track to football.

Jeff Demps Likely To Sign With NFL Team Today

Former Florida Gators running back Jeff Demps is about to resume his playing career, according to the agency that represents Demps.

The former speedster Demps had quite an off-season this year, as he won a Silver medal in the London Olympics for the Stars and Stripes as a reserve. After the Gators’ football season last year, reports were that Demps was going to pursue a track career. Now, that objective seems to have shifted back to football.

It isn’t yet clear as to which team Demps is going to sign with. Some say the in-state Tampa Bay Bucs are interested. Others say a possible reunion with his Gators teammate Tim Tebow may be in order with the New York Jets.

Demps played his entire Gators career as a running back, but that’s not necessarily his NFL position. His speed could translate into being a slot receiver, especially because he may be too injury prone to handle the wear and tear of the NFL running back.

Demps’ decision should come out soon, and his decision should first be announced on this Twitter account.

Tim Tebow Pokes Fun At Brady Quinn, Notre Dame; Internet Loses Its Mind

Tim Tebow can do just about anything and turn it into news. That should be rephrased. Tim Tebow can do just about anything and we turn it into news. We’re all guilty, as much as we want to blame the “large” news providers. Everything he does generates a discussion. Such is the life of someone in the spotlight that generates so much love, but equal amounts of hate.

Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn, Denver BroncosThe latest has Tebow poking fun at former Denver Broncos teammate Brady Quinn and Notre Dame. If you can even call it that. It seemed like a harmless joke on Tebow’s part. Some believed it was actually an attack.

“I had a teammate at Denver who played the same position as me and he went to the University of Notre Dame. He would brag about his university, how great it was. Most of us in the locker room were like, ‘C’mon, we all had opportunities. We chose not to go there.’ … But he talked so much about his university that it became easy. I’d say, ‘Your whole team had one guy who ran under a 5.0 40. Our kicker ran under 5.0.” – Tim Tebow, New York Jets Quarterback

The former Florida Gators star said the above. Most of you are thinking it’s harmless. The rest of you want blood. Just take a look at the comments on this piece about the mystery of the disappearing story that originally had this quote. On second thought, don’t. Your brain will hurt.

It had been some time since Tebow was at the forefront of the news cycle, but thanks to us he’s back. At some point during Tebow’s career, we all took a side. He can do no wrong. He’ll never make it in the NFL. He’s the greatest college football player of all time. It’s all an act. I LOVE HIM! I HATE HIM! Honestly, it’s exhausting.

I’m a Tebow fan. I don’t deny that. I’ve questioned his ability to play quarterback in the NFL full time. Many have. That doesn’t make me less of a fan of the man that did so much for the Gators. I’m interested in his career progression and I’ll be watching New York Jets games during the 2012 NFL season. Tebow isn’t my favorite former Gator, but he’s up there. When I first read the quote about Quinn, I laughed. Then I discovered the world’s reaction. We’ve all lost our minds.

Can we all just agree on one thing? Florida kickers are fast.

Will Hill Fighting To Make New York Giants Regular Season Roster

The 2012 NFL regular season is still months away, but that’s exactly where former Florida Gators safety Will Hill hopes to be this year. Hill – undrafted after declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft after his junior season at Florida – is currently with the New York Giants and battling to extend his stay.

When mentioning Hill, the word “bust” comes into play more often than not. He never lived up to his enormous potential at Florida, but there were many reasons for it. Initially, he couldn’t crack the lineup full-time; then there was the trouble and suspension. None of it went as expected for either party and Hill parted ways with one season of eligibility remaining.

NFL teams would pass over Hill and he wound up in the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers. One season later, he’s getting another chance to play in the NFL.

The Giants like Hill’s potential, but need to see more. With a number of other safeties competing for roster spots, Hill will need to be better than he ever was with the Gators. He’ll need to prove he can perform at high levels consistently and that any past trouble is behind him. It’s an uphill battle for Hill, but he’s getting another chance. It’s up to him what he does with it.

For starters, he should focus on delivering hits in the field of play.

Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Why People Hate Tim Tebow

It’s the summer break. While that doesn’t mean much besides warmer air and more annoying kids outside for all of you year-long workers, summer means more free time for students. We hope that you will be spending more time reading The Bull Gator, as I will be spending more time posting at it. That means it’s time for a new series at TBG. The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD for short) will feature, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. And if you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

Why do people hate Tim Tebow? That’s what YouTube vlogger Scooter Magruder asks. It’s a valid question. Often we, as Florida fans, wonder how it would even be possible to hate Tebow. Well, wonder no more. Scooter Magruder has the answer.

If you have not seen any of Magruder’s videos, get used to them at GVOD, as he is a former Gator himself. We hope for more Gators’ videos from him. Check out his YouTube channel.

What do you think? Do you agree? Why do you think people hate Tebow?

Former Florida Gators Safety Will Hill Signs With New York Giants

Former Florida Gators’ safety Will Hill has signed with the New York Giants. Hill left Florida with one season of eligibility remaining after the 2010 season, but wasn’t selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent time with the Arizona Rattlers of the AFL before recently signing with New York.

Hill holds a place in Gators’ history, although it’s not always a favorable one for Florida fans. Coming out of high school, he was one of the nation’s top recruits, but his talents never seemed to show up with him. From not becoming the superstar fans wanted him to be to questions regarding his desire, Hill struggled with consistently performing on the field. His signature moment as a Gator was in 2010 against the Georgia Bulldogs when he intercepted Aaron Murray (his second of the game) in overtime. Other than that key play though, this is the moment many fans remember Hill for the most:

Hill now has a chance to resurrect his career and finally bring his talents and abilities to good use. If he can keep his head on straight and dedicate himself to the game of football and not all of the outside influences that may come along with it, he’ll have a chance to make a career out of the game. It will be a tough road for Hill, but finally finding a team is a start.

Me, A Tim Tebow Expert? I’ll Take It I Guess

I was recently asked to provide some insight into the legend that is Tim Tebow. Alan Schechter of The JET Press wanted to know what I thought of Tebow as an NFL quarterback. As a fan of the New York Jets – Tebow’s new team (Seriously, you didn’t know that? Sheesh!) – Alan wanted to know what a Florida Gators fan thought of the former orange and blue star and his prospects to be a passer in the NFL for the long term.

I don’t consider myself a Tebow expert (but thank Alan for referring to me as such), but I am a Tebow fan. I wish him nothing but the best for his NFL career, but I do have my own concerns regarding his ability to be a starting quarterback in the league. I believe he can be a key contributor and someone I would want on my team, but he wouldn’t be my first choice to be my primary QB. For more on Tebow, check out my full thoughts at The JET Press.

John Brantley, Deonte Thompson And William Green Sign NFL Free Agent Deals

Two former Florida Gators were expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL draft and exactly two were. Defensive lineman Jaye Howard went to the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round and running back Chris Rainey joined former teammates Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert after he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round. No other Gator heard his name called during the NFL’s three-day event (Janoris Jenkins aside). There is hope though; more than a few undrafted players have become key contributors and even stars in the NFL.

Once the draft ends – and even before it comes to its conclusion – phones are ringing and teams are talking to those players they hope to give an opportunity to (or, more realistically, take another look at). Players are signed as undrafted free agents, while others are invited to various camps. Four such individuals have been given a chance to continue their football careers beyond their time with the Gators.

The Baltimore Ravens signed both quarterback John Brantley and wide receiver Deonte Thompson. The two have already spent a lot of time together as Gators and former classmates as a part of Florida’s 2007 recruiting class. While neither would claim their orange and blue careers went as planned, it is nice to see them get at least a look at the next level. There is plenty both can improve, but the opportunity is there. Brantley isn’t being brought aboard to unseat Joe Flacco, but Thompson comes to a team with little depth at wide receiver.

Defensive end William Green was signed to the team that at one point in NFL history became the team that signed Brantley and Thompson. Still with me? Green is now a member of the Cleveland Browns and will go to camp fighting for a roster spot.

Former Florida and Notre Dame offensive lineman Dan Wenger also received interest from several NFL teams, but wasn’t offered a deal. He was invited to participate in the New York Jets mini-camp though.

Chris Rainey Drafted No. 159 Overall By Pittsburgh Steelers

With the 24th pick in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft (No. 159 overall) Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Pittsburgh, Rainey will join former his former Florida teammates Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.

Rainey was expected by many to be drafted, but there was a range on exactly where he would fall. Some said the former star could go as high as the second round, while others saw him sneaking into the draft late. In the fifth round, the Steelers – who have had some success with former Gators – took a chance on the speedster.

The remainder of the draft went as expected with Rainey and defensive lineman Jaye Howard not being joined by any additional former Gators. The 2012 draft would mark the first since 1993 that the first three rounds didn’t feature a Florida athlete. We wish both Rainey and Howard the best of luck, but hope 2013 is more kind to the Gators.