Moves in the pro ranks by former UF athletes:
Buffalo Bills –– Signed wide receiver Deonte Thompson. The seven-year vet played in 11 games for the Bills a year ago, leading the team in receiving yards. He produced career highs with 27 receptions and 430 receiving yards. The 29-year old also spent time in Buffalo during the 2014 season. He was cut by the Cowboys earlier this month.
New England Patriots –– Activated DB Duke Dawson from injured reserve. Dawson started the season on IR due to a hamstring injury. The Patriots drafted Dawson in the second round of the 2018 draft.
Washington Redskins — Terminated the practice squad contract of RB Mack Brown. It’s the third time the Redskins have parted ways with Brown.
Seattle Mariners — Traded catcher Mike Zunino to the Tampa Bay Rays. “I was shocked. To see your name in trade talks, let alone this early in the offseason, was beyond my expectations,” Zunino said.
Zunino, 27, was taken by Seattle with the third overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft and signed for a $4 million bonus. He hit just .201 this year but had 20 homers with 44 RBIs, down from a .251 average, 25 homers and 64 RBIs in 2017. While well-regarded for his defense, he has struck out 310 times in 760 at-bats during the past two seasons.
Zunino said an oblique injury just before the start of the regular season caused him to struggle at the plate and led to his drop from the progress he had shown as a hitter in 2017.
“It really took me longer than I’d like. I came back and it took me longer than I would have liked to get comfortable,” Zunino said. “Once that happened, I ended up giving away too many at-bats … tried to chase too much. I think getting back to that, trying to take care of my body, getting back to 100 percent is the main goal. I feel great now.”
Zunino grew up in Cape Coral, Florida, and played for the University of Florida. He made $2,975,000 this year, is eligible for salary arbitration and can become a free agent following the 2020 season.
Dallas Cowboys — Cut wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who had 14 catches for 124 yards in eight games.
Los Angele Chargers — The team’s patience with Caleb Sturgis officially expired Monday when the team released the veteran kicker. Sturgis missed six extra points and four field goals in five games and also was sidelined for two weeks because of a quadriceps injury. Sturgis, 29, in his sixth NFL season, missed two extra points and a 42-yard field goal in the Chargers’ 25-17 victory Sunday at Seattle. The performance was just the latest in a spring of rough outings for Sturgis, who signed a two-year, $4.45-million contract in March.
Oakland Raiders — Brought back former draft pick David Sharpe, an offensive tackle. He was claimed off waivers from Houston.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.