FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING:
Impact Analysis: Another commitment off the list | Friday Notebook: Injuries piling up | Scholarship Breakdown - five under the limit | Impact Analysis: Story transfers | Five-star freshman starting | Offense creating confusion
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.
London Olympics action continued this week with the Gators completing arguably the most accomplished day in school Olympic history on Thursday. Five Florida student-athletes took home four event medals over the course of the day. The most well-known win came from the U.S. Women's National Team, which defeated Japan 2-1 to win gold. Striker Abby Wambach and reserve defender Heather Mitts, who has decided to retire, both won medals with that victory. Also played Thursday was the bronze medal soccer match which saw Canada and reserve Melanie Booth earn the medal thanks to a 1-0 win over France. The Gators also dominated the Men's Triple Jump with Christian Taylor claiming gold (17.81m) and Will Claye (17.62m) taking silver in the event. Claye previously won bronze in the Men's Long Jump.
Tony McQuay on Friday ran the third leg of the Men's 4x400 Meter Relay for the United States and posted a split of 43.41, the fastest out of any of the 36 men competing in the race. Though the Bahamas overtook USA on the fourth leg, McQuay still helped bring home silver for the Americans. Olympic action concludes on Saturday with the Men's 4x100 Meter Relay and Women's 4x400 Meter Relay. Jeff Demps (United States) competed in the preliminary round of the 4x100M but will not race in the finals; he will still receive a medal if the team places. Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica), after sitting out the first round, is expected to join her team in the 4x400M finals and may have the ability to help them set a world record in the event.
Involved in contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos this summer, veteran defensive tackle Marcus Thomas made it clear that he would be willing to sign with the team as soon as it offered him more than the one-year deal that they had on the table. At the time there were reportedly two other teams looking to sign him with Thomas believing he could get a better deal elsewhere. Cut to the first week of the NFL preseason and Thomas remains unsigned but looking for a team to join where he can continue being an effective defender. In fact, he tweeted the following message on Friday: "Will work for practice squad Money."
Now in his third NFL season, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap has said on numerous occasions that he is focused and poised for a breakout year. His desire to become a prominent player on his own defense may have hit a speed bump on Friday as Dunlap sprained his knee during Cincinnati's preseason opener. The severity of his injury is unknown though Dunlap did walk off the field under his own power. He may be held out of action for at least a week for recovery purposes and the Bengals could be cautious with him going forward this preseason as the team is already down one defensive end due to injury.
Instrumental in a number of successful Chicago Bears defenses over the years, former Gators defensive end Alex Brown signed a one-day contract with the team on Friday to officially retire as a member of the organization where he spent eight of his nine NFL seasons. Brown, who is believed by the Chicago front office, ends his career with 411 tackles, 45.5 sacks, five interceptions, 39 pass defenses and 15 forced fumbles over nine seasons. He started all 16 games for his club in seven of those nine years and only played as a reserve in 20 of the 143 games in which he was active.
Now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, running back Chris Rainey turned a lot of heads this week by turning a short catch into a 57-yard touchdown during his team's preseason opener. An interesting story about Rainey was also published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which notes that he is "very superstitious" and must always be wearing 22 wristbands (representing his jersey number). "I'm superstitious," he said. "Some of these bands I've been wearing since 10th grade - about five of them. [...] I wear them anywhere and everywhere and never take them off, even in the shower, all that." Rainey said he also plans to wear them during games but will wrap his wrists so he does not break NFL uniform rules.
Grinding through another training camp, Denver Broncos wide receiver Andre Caldwell seems to have caught new quarterback Peyton Manning's eye, according to the Denver Post, which says his sure hands and second-level speed could put him in line for a starting job. "There's a place for me in this offense to make big plays to help this team win," he told the paper. "When Denver made that move at quarterback, this spot became a No. 1 priority." Caldwell also revealed that an undiagnosed sports hernia severely limited his athleticism over the last few years, though after having surgery all of that is behind him these days.