PARTING THOUGHTS: MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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 center Patric Young completes another whirlwind week on Friday, making his third stop in the last five days in Dallas for a workout with the Mavericks. Young started the week in Oklahoma City on Monday and met with Utah on Thursday. He has previously visited Phoenix, San Antonio, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York. Considered a second-round pick at the end of the 2013-14 season, Young has done nothing but impress coaches and general managers with his high basketball IQ, work ethic and performance in workouts. He is now expected to go early in the second round (31-40 range) and could even sneak into the bottom of the first round depending how the draft plays out.
All-American Florida jumper Marquis Dendy on Thursday captured the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championship in men's long jump, becoming the first student-athlete in school history to win a national title in the outdoor event. All three of Dendy's attempts were good enough to win the championship, but his last of 8.00m/26-3 was his best. Dendy will look to double up with the triple jump on Saturday. He joins Fawn Miller (women's javelin) as UF's two outdoor title winners thus far in the event.
The lawyers representing former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez plan to ask that charges against their client for the murder of Odin Lloyd be dismissed when they appear in court next week. The basis of their argument? Despite the prosecution calling numerous witnesses and providing plenty of circumstantial evidence against Hernandez, probable cause has not been established and forensic evidences has not been presented. "Basically, all that the Commonwealth showed the grand jury is that Hernandez was in a car with Lloyd and several other individuals shortly before Lloyd was shot to death," wrote his defense in an explanation. "To compensate for gaping holes in its proof, the Commonwealth sought to portray Hernandez … as an immoral drug-user with violent criminal propensities." It is doubtful the judge will actually dismiss charges against Hernandez, but the argument is intended more to get the judge and jury members thinking about how the case has been laid out in front of them.
On Thursday, the Pittsburgh Steelers made Maurkice Pouncey the highest-paid center in the NFL, inking him to a five-year, $44 million extension that includes $13 million in guaranteed money. Including his previously-agreed upon 2014 salary, Pouncey will earn about $8 million on average until 2019 while starting for one of the most popular teams in the country. His brother, Mike Pouncey, recently had his option picked up by the Miami Dolphins. Mike Pouncey, who ensured this season that a Pouncey brother would be selected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth-straight year, will likely command a larger contract than his brother by the time he and the Dolphins settle on a figure.
Rookie seasons are usually difficult for first-year players and such was the case for former Florida linebacker Jon Bostic, who was thrust into a starting role due to injury and struggled at times for the Chicago Bears in 2013. The second-round pick was expected to move out to strong-side linebacker this season as a result of his play last year and the return of veteran D.J. Williams. Instead, Bostic has seemingly taken a leap in the offseason and has been pushing Williams for first-team reps during organized team activities this month. "Bostic has significantly raised the stakes despite training camp not starting until late July," wrote John Mullin of CSN Chicago. "Bostic is generally considered to have the most pure explosive, sudden speed of all the linebackers [on the Bears' roster]."
Sporting big-time contracts signed within the last year, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap both made the Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes currently 25 years of age or younger. Maurkice Pouncey (24) would likely join them on that list if it was published today, and his brother could find a spot on it as well either this season or next, depending when he comes to terms with Miami. All four players were members of the Gators' 2007 recruiting class.