McElwain calls it a fish story

‘It isn’t me,’ Gators coach says of shark photo gone viral

Florida head football coach Jim McElwain talks with reporters before he introduces his new coaches Corey Bell, who will coach defensive backs, Brad Davis, who will coach the offensive line and JaJuan Seider, who will coach running backs, held in the press deck at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Thursday Feb. 16, 2017. Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer Last Modified: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 8:47 p.m.

What had been a light and casual question-and-answer session with a few members of the media Tuesday night took a serious turn at the end when the Florida coach was asked about a photo that has gone viral on social media and been linked to him.

“Well, first and foremost, I don’t know who it is, but it isn’t me,” McElwain said, before speaking to the Titletown Gator Club.

McElwain was referring to a picture that started popping up on social media over the weekend of a smiling, naked man lying on top of a dead shark on the deck of a boat. Many, including the person who first posted the photo, have pointed out that the man looks similar to McElwain in the face.

Many have now run with that, inferring (and joking) that it actually is McElwain in the photo, even though the man in the photo appears much heavier than McElwain.

Based on his response Tuesday, McElwain is clearly disturbed that something that isn’t real, that he says isn’t true, could get twisted into what it has become.

When asked his feeling on how something like this could become a story, he said, “I guess that’s for you guys to answer. In the world that we live, what is a story. I just know this: it isn’t me.”

Before making his adamant denial about being the man in the shark photo, McElwain addressed a number of topics, including the new early signing period in December, the status of quarterback Luke Del Rio and the competition at the position, the start-up of Phase 5 (offseason conditioning and player-organized workouts) and the addition this week of two new true freshmen (quarterback Jake Allen and offensive lineman T.J. Moore).

Starting this year, college football will have two signing periods — one in December and one in February.

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