Tight end Colin Thompson will undergo a second surgery to treat a fractured bone in his right foot, sidelining him for about eight weeks.

An initial surgery performed in the spring to try to resolve the issue did not heal properly, necessitating a second procedure, which is expected to happen today.

Thompson came to UF as the No. 6 tight end in the class of 2012 and was thought to be in line for significant playing time because of what he could bring as a blocker at 6 foot 4 and 256 pounds.

With Jordan Reed missing the last week with an MCL sprain and A.C. Leonard leaving the team during the offseason, the Gators are left with only three healthy scholarship tight ends.

Former defensive end Tevin Westbrook and freshman Kent Taylor have never played the position for Florida, while Clay Burton appeared in only one game last season.

After being held out of contact for a few days because of a shoulder injury, Sharrif Floyd was back to regular practice on Monday.

Lerentee McCray was expected to return to practice on Monday or Tuesday after dealing with a hamstring injury, while Muschamp loosely targeted Oct. 1 as the date Ronald Powell can return from a torn ACL he suffered during the spring game.

Johnson shining on special teams: Although he's been shuffled between safety, linebacker and running back in just more than a year with UF, Chris Johnson has found a home on special teams.

"Chris, number one, is probably our most valuable special teams player," Muschamp said.

"He's really an explosive guy on special teams and does an awful lot for us there."

As confident as Muschamp is in what Johnson can do at both running back and fullback, his contributions on UF's punt and kick coverage teams are expected to be even more critical.

"Special teams here take precedence over either offense or defense, and our guys understand that," Muschamp said.

Demps signs with Pats: Former Gators running back and Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps signed a contract with the New England Patriots on Friday, foregoing a professional track career for a shot at the NFL.

"I'm happy, I think thatís great," Muschamp said. "Jeff's a great guy, and a guy that can certainly be a very valuable third-down back and a returner. He's a guy that, when he touches the ball, he can take it the distance."

Contact Greg Luca at [email protected].

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