TE Jimmy Graham is “more hungry than ever”

TE Jimmy Graham is “more hungry than ever”

Veteran TE Jimmy Graham is eager to prove that he is worthy of being on an NFL roster. Last week Chicago agreed to sign the 33-year-old TE to a two-year, $16 million contract after Green Bay cut him.

Getting cut by the Packers was the first time Graham had lost a job. He said being let go was not only eye-opening, but motivating.

There is a lot of skepticism surrounding the TE and the Bears decision to sign him.

This is no surprise considering Graham’s struggle with the Packers during the past two seasons. He accounted for just five touchdowns, 93 receptions and 1,083 yards combined.

Some are questioning whether Graham is burned out or if he even still has the ability to play in the league, but he is not.

Graham’s History

After playing just one year of college football, Graham was drafted in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. The 6 foot 7 athlete played four years of college basketball and then one year of college football at Miami.

Graham, almost immediately, became one of the league’s best tight ends. In his second season with the Saints, he had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns.

This made Saints’ history. He became the first tight end to have more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season for New Orleans.

The Saints traded Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. There, he set the Seahawk’s franchise record for most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns at the tight end position.

The Packers signed Graham in 2018 and released him nearly two years later.

Despite his lack of productivity in Green Bay, Graham is no stranger to success. He knows what it takes on and off the field. He knows that it’s not only a physical grind, but a mental grind as well.

“I’m more hungry than ever,” he said.

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

Life Update

Amidst the craziness of life right now, it’s important to remember that the present is only temporary and to look forward to the future. With that being said, I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining FOX17 in Nashville and their sports crew in a couple of months! I’m hopeful and optimistic that we’ll have a whole lot of sports to cover come summer. Music City – get ready. This Gator is comin’.

Wildcats vs. Tigers – An SEC Showdown

Wildcats vs. Tigers – An SEC Showdown

The No. 15 Auburn Tigers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to face the eighth ranked Wildcats at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow. The Tigers have won the past two meetings against the Wildcats, including beating Kentucky in the Elite Eight in overtime last year.

What’s at stake?

Wildcats

Kentucky currently leads the SEC with a 13-2 conference record. The Wildcats are on a seven game win streak, including four road games. With a win on Saturday, Kentucky can clinch the SEC regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament.

Coach Calipari’s team is led by Immanuel Quickley. He’s averaging 16.2 points a game, but lately it has been much, much more than that. In three consecutive games, he has accounted for at least 29 points. During Tuesday’s matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies, Quickley scored 30 points.

Junior forward Nick Richards has also been crucial to Kentucky’s success thus far. He leads the team with 7.9 rebounds.

After the showdown with the Tigers, Kentucky will host Tennessee at home and face the Gators in Gainesville to close out the regular season.

Tigers

Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers are sitting in second place of the SEC as of right now. Kentucky holds a two-game lead over Auburn.

Auburn has lost its last two road games falling to Missouri and Georgia. If they were to get a win on Saturday, it would certainly add some drama to the last week of regular season play. Auburn faces both Tennessee and Texas A&M next week.

The Tigers’ shooting percentage this season has dropped from 46 percent to 39 percent when playing on the road.

Senior guard Samir Doughty leads the Tigers in scoring with an average of 16.1 points per game. Doughty scored 14 points in Auburn’s win over Ole Miss Tuesday. This makes it 11 games straight in which he’s scored in the double digits.

Auburn has a tough task awaiting them inside Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon. Kentucky is 48-2 all-time against the Tigers in Lexington.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

Coming Soon: Billy Donovan Court

Billy Donovan, 19-year head coach of the Gator Men’s Basketball team, will be honored Saturday night when the University of Florida basketball court gets a new name. The floor of Exatech Arena will be known as “Billy Donovan Court” as of tomorrow night. The dedication will take place when the Gators take on SEC opponent Vanderbilt at 8 p.m.

Donovan’s Deeds at UF

Donovan began his tenure in Gainesville in 1996. He led the Gators to six SEC regular-season Championships, four league tournament titles, 14 NCAA Tournaments appearances and four Final Fours.

AP18151665313263-300x200Not to mention, Florida won back-to-back National Championships under Donovan in 2006 and 2007. This remains the only time in the past 25 years where a men’s basketball team won back-to-back titles. Also, The Gators ranked No. 1 nationally in five different seasons under Donovan.

To say the man was successful at Florida is an understatement.

Over 19 seasons, Donovan racked up a 467-185 record.

In 2015, he took a job in the NBA and became the Oklahoma City Thunder’s heads coach.

How it All Went Down

In early October, UF athletic director Scott Stricklin and his predecessor, Jeremy Foley, took a trip to Oklahoma to tour Oklahoma and Oklahoma State campus facilities, or that’s what they said at least.

They met Donovan and his wife for dinner one evening to “catch up”.

However, that wasn’t exactly the purpose of their trip. Donovan “sensed” something was up.
Stricklin and Foley delivered the exciting news that night in Oklahoma.

After tomorrow, the O’Dome court will forever be attached to Donovan’s name.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.

Football season is back thanks to the XFL

Football is no longer just a fall sport. The XFL will have its debut game this Saturday at 2 p.m. with Seattle facing DC.

The XFL Basics

The league is backed by WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and has a total of eight teams based around the country.

  • St. Louis BattleHawks
  • Seattle Dragons
  • Dallas Renegades
  • Tampa Bay Vipers
  • DC Defenders
  • Houston Roughnecks
  • New York Guardians
  • Los Angeles Wildcats

Minicamps began in December for XFL teams. Games will be played in NFL, NCAA, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball facilities. The regular season will consist of 10 games for each team and a four-team playoff scenario on April 19-20. Then, an XFL Championship will take place on April 26.

Key Differences from the NFL

  • Faster pace
  • Reduction of time between plays
  • An eighth official on the field to spot the ball
  • At least one female on officiating crews

  • Two timeouts per half
  • 10-minute halftime
  • No coin tosses
  • Home team will choose whether to receive or defend at the start of the game
  • Overtime: Each team gets five one-play possessions to score from 5-yard line
    • Will continue playing until someone is eliminated
  • No extra point kicks
  • Options after a touchdown
    • Go for one point from 2-yard line
    • Attempt two points from 5-yard line
    • Go for three points from 10-yard line
  • Replay review modeled after college system

Players in the XFL will bring home a salary on average of $55,000. However, some will make as much as $500,000. The league says 207 of the 416 players on XFL rosters, nearly half the league, had been with an NFL team in the past six months.

Gators in the XFL

Tampa

  • Mack Brown, RB
  • Antonio Callaway, WR
  • DeAndre Goolsby, TE
  • Martez Ivey, OL
  • CeCe Jefferson, DE

St. Louis

  • Matt Jones, RB
  • Will Hill, S

DC

  • Matt Elam, S

You can catch the XFL’s first matchup of the season on ABC.

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.