George W. overlooked one Gator

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Derek Baldry may hold the distinction of being the only Florida football player in history to be snubbed by the president of the United States.

It happened earlier this year, when the national champion Gators were being honored by President George Bush in a ceremony at the White House. During the president’s speech, he singled out walk-on wide receiver Cam Brewer for serving his country for six years with the Marines. The president failed to mention that Baldry, a former Gainesville High student, served four years as an Army Ranger and had two tours of duty in war-torn Afghanistan.

While Brewer did not face combat as a Marine, Baldry did with the Rangers, losing a close friend in combat.

Baldry said he did not feel slighted by his Commander in Chief during the White House ceremony.

“Everyone has been asking me if I felt wronged that I wasn’t mentioned (along with Brewer),” said Baldry, a junior walk-on who is slated to start on special teams this season. “Honestly, no. The things I did with the Rangers I did not do for recognition. Anyone who does it for the recognition is doing it for the wrong reasons.

“If anything, it was a mistake by whoever was in charge (at the White House) of finding out information about our team and players. I’m sure President Bush wasn’t even aware of my background with the Rangers.”