Today in Patriots History
Happy 31st birthday to Jonas Gray
Born June 27, 1990 in Pontiac, Michigan
Patriot RB, 2014; uniform #35
Signed as a free agent to a future contract on January 6, 2014
The Michigan native led his high school team to the state championship game, and was rated as the number four prospect nationally at running back. Jonas Gray signed with Notre Dame but was buried on the depth chart, getting just 75 carries in his first three seasons with the Irish. He finally received regular playing time (along with another future Patriot RB, Cierre Wood) his senior year, and ran for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns. Then one week after rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns versus Maryland, Gray blew out his knee - and any chance of being drafted - in a November 19, 2011 game against Boston College that resulted in a torn ACL, MCL and LCL.
The 5'10" 223 pound back spent 2012 on the physically unable to perform list and the 2013 off season with Miami, then was signed to Baltimore's practice squad after final roster cuts in 2013. Gray spent the entire 2014 off season with the Pats, and began the season on their practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in mid-October when Stevan Ridley was placed on injured reserve.
After three games in which he rushed for 131 total yards and no touchdowns, Jonas Gray became the focus of the game plan at Indianapolis - and made national headlines. Ten months earlier the Patriots defeated the Colts 43-22 by exploiting Indy's run defense, with LeGarrette Blount pounding his way for 166 yards and four touchdowns. The Colts had not improved their run defense at all, in large part due to starting DT Arthur Jones missing several games with an ankle injury. The game plan was a simple rehash of that previous playoff game, with Jonas Gray replacing Blount as the big workhorse running back while utilizing six offensive linemen or two tight end sets.
The plan worked to perfection. Gray rushed for 201 yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns on 38 carries, as the Pats crushed the Colts, 42-20.
Note: The NFL/ won't let you watch the video here; click the link above to watch it on YouTube
LeGarrette Blount had departed to Pittsburgh the previous offseason in free agency, but that was not working out well for either side. The following day would be the final straw, when Blount left the field early on Monday Night Football after receiving just one offensive snap and zero carries. The Steelers immediately released Blount, and the Patriots signed him a day after he cleared waivers. In hindsight the euphoria over Gray's record setting performance should have been tempered; his role as the big back was about to be handed back to Blount.
On Friday of that week the Patriots had a team meeting scheduled for 7:30 am. The charger to Gray's cellphone was not fully inserted into the wall socket, resulting in the phone's battery to die rather than recharge - and the alarm never went off. When he woke up he was already an hour late.
Gray was rightfully benched for the game two days later, causing many sports mediots' heads to explode. Blount scored a touchdown on his first carry in the second quarter to give the Pats a 14-6 lead following an 81 yard kickoff return by Danny Amendola. Then after a Logan Ryan interception with under seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Blount ran the ball on eight out of nine snaps, chewing up nearly five minutes off the clock, culminated with his second rushing touchdown of the day and a 34-9 victory.
A week later the Patriots lost to Green Bay as the Packers kept the Pats offense off the field (23:25 time of possession), with New England running the ball 18 times. Once again Blount got most of the load, with ten carries; Gray had zero rushes and one offensive snap.
His final appearance for the Pats was ironically against Indy: in a 45-7 playoff victory, Gray had four carries for four yards. In three of the other final four games of the season he was a healthy scratch, including the super bowl against Seattle.
Jonas Gray's final NFL touchdown came in a one-point victory over the Jets on December 21, 2014
After being waived by the Patriots at the end of the 2015 training camp, Gray spent most of 2015 split between Miami's active roster and practice squad, appearing in six games with 31 carries. Jacksonville signed him of the Fins practice squad in mid December and he saw action in two games for the Jaguars, with 14 rushes. Jonas suffered a quadriceps injury during the 2016 training camp, and the Jags waived him with an injury settlement. In 2017 Gray returned to his alma mater to perform at Notre Dame's Pro Day, vying for one more crack at the NFL - but found no takers. Similarly he had a tryout/showcase in 2019 for the XFL, but again no team offered a contract.
After having worked for an energy company in Boston, Jonas Gray is now president and CEO of AthletesPlus+ Management, an athlete consulting firm. His final stat line with the Patriots was eight games played with three starts, 412 yards rushing at 4.6 yards per carry, and five touchdowns.
Jonas Gray's breakout season came up short.
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Late Sunday night, after the New England Patriots had delivered the Indianapolis Colts a 42-20 punch in the mouth, the star of the game stood in the Patriots' Lucas Oil Stadium locker room, humble and appreciative as a throng of reporters crowded around him, likely as curious about who he...
FOXBOROUGH — Running back Jonas Gray was sent home from the Patriots facility Friday by coach Bill Belichick after showing up late.
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Jonas Gray’s career has taken another absurd step. Gray joined the American Flag Football League, a league that hopes to “capture the energy and fun of America’s fastest growing youth sport b…
Former New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray worked out at Notre Dame's pro day Thursday.
Five years ago, an unknown Patriots running back named Jonas Gray put up a monster performance against the Colts. A few days later, an uncharged phone changed the course of his career.
Crossing Bill Belichick is an NFL player’s worst nightmare — just ask Jonas Gray. For better or (mostly) worse, the 29-year-old has a special place in New England Patriots lore. On Nov. 16, 2014, Gray rushed 37 times for 201 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts, a performance...
Gray believes a dead cell phone and missed alarm changed his fate.
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2015 (preseason vs GB)
(Indy game, 7 minute highlight video)