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July 22, 2013
Giants safety Will Hill has been suspended for the second time in his NFL career as the league announced on Saturday that he will sit out the first four games of the 2013 season after violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Hill, who was previously suspended on Oct. 8, 2012 for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy, claimed that suspension was due to his use of Adderall, a drug prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). No matter the excuse, Hill will now be forced to miss eight of his first 20 career NFL games due to the two suspensions. He went undrafted in 2011 after deciding to leave Florida early - over concerns about his drug use, immaturity and character - and one could argue that he is proving every team that passed on him right. New York was impressed with how Hill, a local product, had turned his life around and believed he could contribute last season, which he did by registering 38 tackles (29 solo, two for lost yardage) with two forced fumbles and two pass defenses in 2012. This may be his last straw though, and if it's not, a third strike would almost certainly see Hill out of the NFL. He is entering the second season of a three-year, $1.44 million contract he signed with the Giants last summer.
A pair of former Gators - Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal - will participate in the 2013 USA Basketball Men's National Team Mini-Camp in Las Vegas, NV, this week in hopes of earning placement on the 2013-16 U.S. Men's National Team that will participate in international competitions, qualifiers and eventually the 2016 Rio Olympics. Beal, who was involved with USA Basketball as a high schooler and has experience playing internationally, is still recovering from a stress fracture in his leg that kept him out at the end of the 2012-13 season and has sidelined him for much of the offseason. He is expected to participate in some individual drills but will not be allowed to make contact during the camp. Parsons may be more likely to make the team than Beal anyway but both will have to work hard for a spot.
The Dallas Mavericks appear to have finally moved on from point guard Nick Calathes, whom they selected in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Calathes is on the verge of being dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies for future draft considerations after Dallas signed an Israeli point guard to a three-year deal. Calathes averaged 12.9 points, 6.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game last season for Lokomotiv Kuban, a professional team out of Russia. He led them to the 2013 Eurocup championship, earning the event's Most Valuable Player award for himself. Should he ever get back to the United States and the NBA, Calathes could be of immense value to a team as a young, talented and versatile point guard that can also shoot the ball with good accuracy.
One other former Florida guard who will likely have a new home sooner than later is Mike Miller, who cleared amnesty waivers on Thursday and officially became a free agent. The Oklahoma City Thunder are believed to be the front-runners to sign Miller, but at least four other teams are in contention for his services including Denver, Golden State, Houston, Memphis (his former team) and San Antonio. The Nuggets appear to be making a late push for the 33-year-old's services. Miller will earn $12.8 million from the Miami Heat over the next two seasons in addition to whatever contract he signs this offseason.
Recent comments from the Chicago Bulls make the team sound very pleased with its acquisition of forward Erik Murphy in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Murphy went 10-for-14 from downtown for the Bulls during NBA Summer League action (after going 0-for-6 in his first game, that is?) while averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Head coach Tom Thibodeau praised the way he worked towards the end of summer league, and Murphy himself explained why he was not his normal self in his first NBA action. "The first game I struggled getting acclimated," he told the team's official website. "I probably was a little nervous. I tried not to be, but it was my first game. After that, I was playing a lot better, learning, defensively trying to figure out what to do. I think I did well and I want to continue to get better."
Safeties Matt Elam and Josh Evans both agreed to their rookie contracts with the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively, late last week. Elam's four-year, $6.767 million contract (which he negotiated without an agent) includes $5.4 million in guarantees (including a $3.301 million signing bonus). The Ravens possess a fifth-year team option for 2017, though Baltimore would likely lock up Elam with a more lucrative long-term contract before that comes to fruition. Evans's deal, like Elam's, is based on the rookie wage scale set by the NFL. He will earn $2.304 million over the life of his deal and picked up a $144,560 signing bonus. "I just feel honored to be a part of the Jaguars and this new organization," he told me on Friday. "I'm excited to get down to Jacksonville and compete. I'm also excited for my first training camp as a professional."