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Brenton Cox leaving Florida football good for all concerned | Whitley's Believe It or Not

David Whitley
The Gainesville Sun

Monday’s news that Brenton Cox Jr. is no longer on Florida’s football team was a shock but not a surprise.

It’s shocking anytime you lose arguably your most talented defensive player. But it wasn’t surprising considering that player was Cox.

He transferred from Georgia three years ago, leaving the usual trail of rumors about attitude problems and discontent. I can’t definitively say that’s why the ex-Dawg is now an ex-Gator, but read between these lines.

“I think that being a football player at the University of Florida is a privilege,” Billy Napier said. “There are certain expectations that come with that.”

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Florida defensive end Brenton Cox Jr. pressures Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett during Saturday's game in Jacksonville.

Cox obviously didn’t meet those expectations, and we’re not talking sacks. He said in spring practice he was gunning for Alex Brown’s single-season record of 13 sacks. He would have needed 11 in the final four games to match that.

He was obviously frustrated against his old team last Saturday, taking a swing at Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh after the Bulldogs’ sixth touchdown. That might have been the last of many straws.

Losing Cox in the wake of a 42-20 loss makes it appear UF’s season has spun out of control. But he’ll be better off not risking injury and training for the NFL Combine.

As for the Gators, Napier’s rebuilding project is based on changing the culture. Whatever the specifics, Cox wasn’t helping in that regard.

Monday’s news shouldn’t be viewed as team coming apart. In the long run, it’s the kind of thing that brings a program together….

Stud of the Week: Brett Yormark. The Big 12 commissioner nailed down a $2.3 billion TV deal with ESPN and Fox, which is almost double the current contract. Yormark reportedly promised TV execs that UCF and Houston will wear Texas and Oklahoma uniforms for the duration of the contract….

Duds of the Week: Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky. The Ohio fishermen who set off a cheating scandal last month pleaded not guilty to attempted grand theft. They apparently plan to contend the walleyes they caught failed lie-detector tests and actually stuffed themselves with lead weights.

Duds of the Week II: The four Michigan State players who attacked a Michigan player in the tunnel after the Wolverines’ 29-7 win. They should be kicked off the team and sentenced to watching 10,000 hours of walleye catching tournaments. ...

Is UF's Desmond Watson next?

Stud of the Week, Jumbo Division: Colorado offensive lineman Tommy Brown is the first player to get an NIL deal as an underwear model. Shinesty, an online retailer, signed the 6-foot-7, 335-pounder.

“When you have a body this good, you deserve to be paid,” Brown said.

I hope the sales campaign works. Just not well enough that Shinesty tries to sign UF’s Desmond Watson. ...

Duds of the Week, World Series Division: The Houston Asterisks. A pitcher is suspected of doctoring baseballs. A hitter used an illegal bat. What is this, 2017? ...

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Tom Brady. I just hope the poor guy can find somebody who'll date him now. ...

Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi told SI.com last week, “No one’s beat us. We’ve beat ourselves. I mean we’re undefeated, really.”

The 4-3 Panthers proceeded to beat themselves against North Carolina, 42-24. If they beat themselves against Syracuse this week, expect Narduzzi to order a shipment of “UCF 2017 National Champions” t-shirts, change the name and date, and hand them out with cigars in the locker room. ...

Forget Kevin Durant; the fans should be upset

After losing to Indiana Saturday to drop to 1-5, the Brooklyn Nets held a players-only meeting. “We’re pissed,” Kevin Durant said. I wish there would be a fans-only meeting where participants say they are pissed enough to become Knicks fans. ...

In a Washington Post poll, 24% of respondents under 30 said football is their favorite sport. Then came basketball (17%), “something else” (12%) and soccer (10%). Baseball tied at 7% with “watching 335-pound offensive linemen try to squeeze into their underwear.” ...

Brady Redux: Lawyers said the divorce was settled “amicably,” but it sounds as if he got shafted. Gisele got to keep the ski chalet and yacht. He got to keep the kale farm and the Bucs offensive line. ...

World Series clarification: They are the Houston “Astros.” But the 10-year window of ridicule after a team cheats its way to a title doesn’t close for another five seasons or Jose Altuve admits his bat was corked with walleye, whichever comes first. ...

Today in 1938: Seabiscuit outran War Admiral in “The Match of the Century,” though War Admiral jockey Pat Narduzzi Sr. said his horse beat itself to remain undefeated. ...

Tom Brady is open-minded and has a thing for underwear models, right? Maybe somebody should introduce him to Tommy Brown. ...

That’s about all the space we have for matchmaking and this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. Till next time, Go Phillies!

David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidEWhitley