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Several Florida junior players could end career in Sugar Bowl

Junior safety Matt Elam is one of several Gators stars who need to decide after the Sugar Bowl whether to declare for the NFL.

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Junior safety Matt Elam is one of several Gators stars who need to decide after the Sugar Bowl whether to declare for the NFL.

NEW ORLEANS — It's very possible that several Florida juniors will play their final college game in Wednesday's Sugar Bowl against Louisville.

Florida's success will likely translate into NFL opportunities for TE Jordan Reed, S Matt Elam, LB Jelani Jenkins and DT Sharrif Floyd. All filed paperwork with the NFL to get more details on their potential draft status. Jenkins has been active on Twitter trying to sublet his apartment and sell household items.

On Friday, DT Dominique Easley said he will decide after the season whether to return.

DEALING WITH DISTRACTIONS: Louisville coach Charlie Strong became the focus of attention because of a lawsuit filed this month by former Louisville DL Patrick Grant, who alleges he was beaten by two teammates, then coerced into covering up the incident.

Grant's suit says he was attacked in the locker room on Oct. 24, 2010 and beaten "so badly that he required immediate, urgent care and nearly lost his left eye." He says that, on the way to the hospital, a team trainer told him to lie about teammates causing the injuries.

The suit says doctors advised Grant to stop playing football, and Strong promised he could remain on scholarship. Instead, he alleges, after he returned to practice and was injured, Strong revoked his scholarship. Grant wants his scholarship reinstated and seeks compensatory damages.

A school spokesman said officials do not comment on pending litigation. In July, a grand jury declined to indict Jacob and Isaac Geffrad, whom Grant said attacked him, on first-degree assault charges. They were dismissed from the team in November 2010.

TO CURFEW OR NOT: With the lure of Bourbon Street and the party life in New Orleans, a primary concern for the coaches this week is keeping players out of trouble. Florida coach Will Muschamp instituted a curfew, though he declined to publicly say what time players must be in. The Cardinals do not have curfew because, Strong says, "I want my players to enjoy the experience. They deserve it as a team because they've worked so hard to get themselves here. They already know it's all about business and we're not trying to see how many hurricanes we can consume or anything. We can stay out at night, but in the end we know it's a business trip for us."

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Several Florida junior players could end career in Sugar Bowl 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 10:42pm]
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