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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.
Lately, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden has had some negative attention after being suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. Haden, though, has been a fan favorite in Cleveland since the day he arrived. Not only has he been great on the field, he interacts with fans on a personal level off the field and has done everything from taken a high school student to prom to sponsoring a child's baseball team. His latest gesture of good will came when he walked into a Finish Line store and saw a fan looking at his jersey on the rack. Not only did Haden introduce himself, he bought the jersey for the fan, signed it in the store and took a picture with him. Haden is already one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and is proving that he is just as good off the field as he is on it.
Instead of being satisfied with simply being drafted ahead of his brother, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey has continued improving on the field and may even be the better player at this point in his career. Despite Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey already being a Pro Bowler, Mike has stepped up in his second NFL season and has been called the superior center by both Indianapolis Colts interim head coach Bruce Arians (Maurkice's former offensive coordinator) and an unnamed AFC general manager. Miami head coach Joe Philbin is also pleased with Pouncey, who has now become the Dolphins' best offensive lineman, jumping ahead of former No. 1 overall pick left tackle Jake Long. Pouncey has come a long way from sailing snaps over John Brantley's head. A guy that fans once thought could be nothing more than an NFL guard has become someone who could very well get his own Pro Bowl nod just two seasons after graduating from Florida.
Numerous rumors have been started about who New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is or is not dating, but TMZ cameras captured the former Heisman Trophy winner bowling with actress Camilla Belle in what appeared to be a date. The gossip site quickly confirmed that the two are indeed a couple and were "overly affectionate throughout the evening, holding hands and touching." What is actually interesting about this development is that Belle previously dated another famous "pure" celebrity in singer Joe Jonas. Sorry ladies.
In his first season at Florida, Gators head women's cross country coach Paul Spangler won the SEC Coach of the Year award for his sport on Friday. Spangler is the second coach in as many weeks to be honored by the conference, joining soccer's Becky Burleigh. Seven Florida student-athletes were also listed on the league's All-SEC teams. Senior Florence Ngetich and redshirt junior Agata Strausa earned women's first-team nods, senior Callie Cooper was named to the second team, and both Shelby Davidson and Julie Macedo were placed on the All-Freshman team. On the men's side, junior Mark Parrish was listed on the first team, and Phil Duncan was named an All-Freshman.
Now being featured even more with point guard Derrick Rose dealing with a serious knee injury, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah put on an impressive performance in his team's season opener, scoring 23 points and registering 10 rebounds in 40 minutes. Noah also grabbed five steals, blocked three shots and dished three dimes as well. In fact, he became the first Chicago player since Michael Jordan to go 20-10-5 in a single game in points, rebounds and steals. With the NBA season now underway, Noah is one of 10 Florida players spread across nine teams.
Gators fans have plenty to watch over the next few days. In addition to the football game Saturday, Florida soccer is the one-seed in the 2012 SEC Tournament and will face Missouri in semifinal action on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Should they be victorious, UF will play in the finals on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. live on ESPNU. No. 11 Gators volleyball is also set to host Georgia in a televised SEC East rivalry game (Sun Sports or FSN) on Friday at 7 p.m. Volleyball will then host Tennessee just two days later in another SEC East showdown on Sunday at 2 p.m. in match that will air live on CSS.