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January 11, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators fans living in Jacksonville got some bad news on Thursday when the new general manager of the Jaguars shot down reports that quarterback Tim Tebow would be headed there after he is eventually released. "As far as Tim goes," he is a member of the New York Jets. I can't imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar," David Caldwell said on Thursday at his introductory press conference. "I can't imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar?even if he's released." Both ESPN's Chris Mortensen and NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported last month that Tebow was a "virtual certainty" to be acquired by Jacksonville once he became a free agent. The Jaguars' owner even said last off-season that he would have drafted Tebow and that acquiring him would be a priority if he was ever a free agent. Now that someone new is in charge of the front office, it looks like Tebow will have to look elsewhere for his next opportunity.
A day could not get much worse for a single player. Not only was running back Chris Rainey arrested for simple battery (dating violence) on Thursday morning, he was released from his contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers just hours later after the team learned of the incident. "Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing," team GM Kevin Colbert said in a statement. "Under the circumstances and due to his conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette later reported that Rainey actually got in trouble one month prior when he was "cited for defiant trespass, a summary offense" after entering a casino in Washington, PA despite signing himself onto a self-exclusion list. Rainey likely put himself on the list as a safeguard against gambling; such lists exist so degenerate gamblers can restrict their ability to gamble. Though dynamic and talented, Rainey has now painted himself into a bad corner and will have to work his way out of it in order to get another NFL opportunity. He was set to earn $480,000 in 2013 as part of a four-year, $2.282 million contract.
The student attendance announced for Wednesday's basketball game was 3,200, marking the highest total for a single game in the last seven years and a great number overall for Florida basketball. One of the reasons so many students were able to attend is that alumni and public tickets were not purchased, so the school subsequently opened more spaces in which students were allowed to sit. With attendance being an issue at UF sporting events recently, the school should be making a conscious effort to not only open additional seats for students but also publicize that any student that wants to attend a basketball game will be able to save for sold-out contests with those registering early getting preferred seating. The Gators ticketing policies for basketball are confusing at best for students, especially those that do not register in advance and plan to go to games. Florida basketball should be the second-best attended sport at the school next to football, yet tons of open seats are viewable on television because students are often relegated to the Rowdy Reptiles section and then to the rafters of the building.
On Thursday, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman further confirmed that the team has no concerns whatsoever with wide receiver Percy Harvin's attitude and that he remains in the team's plans going forward. "Percy comes to work every day. Everybody sees what Percy puts on the field," Spielman said, according to the Associated Press. "He plays the game hard, or harder, than anyone else in the NFL, the effort that he puts up out there. So we have no issues with Percy Harvin." After Harvin engaged in a dispute with the team last offseason over both his contract and playing time, the two sides came to an understanding and he started the season by putting up MVP-caliber numbers. Then he severely injured his ankle, missed a few games and was put on injured reserve by the team. After being placed on IR, Harvin had an emergency appendectomy. Now all healed from that procedure, he is back in Florida rehabbing his ankle and preparing for the 2013 season, which also marks his final under contract with Minnesota.
Really? After joining St. Joseph Academy as an assistant coach, former Gators running back Brandon James selflessly agreed to become head coach when the person in that position was surprisingly fired 22 days after he was hired last April. Then, with a roster of 20 total active players and a team that was just trying to get through the season, James finished the year just 2-8 and in the middle of a rebuilding process that he planned to stick around and complete. Instead of giving James that opportunity, school administration decided to fire him just one day after the two sides met with the latter asking if he remained interested in staying with the program. Obviously perturbed by the situation, James spoke with the St. Augustine Record this week and expressed his frustration. "At the end of the day, I don't want to be looked at in a bad light," he said. "I don't want to be looked at as a guy who took a job and ran away from it. I was ready to tackle another year." James decided to begin coaching high school football both at the suggestion of his former baseball coach Bernie Packo (who was the St. Joseph Academy head coach he was supposed to work under) and due to his career as a professional player having come to an end.
Some (OK, most) Florida fans are not fond of Steve Addazio, but former Gators - especially offensive linemen - are never shy to describe the impact he had on their careers. In a story last month printed in The Boston Globe, now-Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey recounted how Addazio injured himself while celebrating Florida's BCS National Championship victory and was unable to interview for his dream job at Boston College. "We cried for him," he said. "It was a sad moment." Now that both Pouncey brothers are in the NFL, one would think that they speak with their former college coaches rarely. Addazio is an exception, as Maurkice said they speak with him on a weekly basis. "We love him as much as anything on this earth," he said. "He's a tough guy, an Italian guy, he coached our asses off, and for me and Mike he played a father role."