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June 27 in Pats History: Happy Birthday to Jonas Gray

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jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Jonas Gray


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.





Patriots Inactives: Jonas Gray will play versus Colts | boston.com

Tale of Two RBs: Jonas Gray Makes SI Cover While LeGarrette Blount Runs for Cover | boston.com













2015 (preseason vs GB)​



(Indy game, 7 minute highlight video)​



(4:32 highlights)​
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
What a wonderful night in Indy that was...

I feel badly for the kid that his transgression killed his future with the Pats...kinda like what Stidham is going through now...But gosh darnit man you just hafta make sure that you have both a fully-charged cell phone/digital clock And an analog alarm clock in case of power outages...
 
Last edited:

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Adam Vinatieri, Heath Irwin, Nick McDonald


June 27, 1996: New England signs undrafted rookie free agent Adam Vinatieri, from South Dakota State University, to compete with veteran placekicker Matt Bahr.


Happy 48th birthday to Heath Irwin
Born June 27, 1973 in Boulder, Colorado
Patriot G/C, 1996-1999; uniform #63
Pats 4th round (101st overall) pick of the 1996 draft, from Colorado

Over four seasons Heath Irwin appeared in 44 games with 17 starts for the Patriots, plus three playoff games following the '97 and '98 seasons. His brother Blake was also in training camp with the Pats in 1998. In '99 Irwin was tabbed by Pete Carroll to replace Dave Wohlabaugh at center, but instead took over for Max Lane as the starting left guard, while rookie Damien Woody started at center.


On March 1, 2000 the Dolphins signed Irwin as a veteran free agent to a four year contract. In two seasons there he played in 29 games with 7 starts; Irwin was left exposed to the 2002 expansion draft, and when not claimed he was released. His final NFL stop was with the Broncos in the 2003 off season, after a year with the Rams. Overall he played in 87 NFL games with 29 starts, and appeared in six playoff games. Irwin is now a high school football coach in Longmont Colorado and works in his family commercial real estate brokerage in Boulder.








Irwin Companies | About




Happy 34th birthday to Nick McDonald
Born June 27, 1987 in Salinas, California
Patriot G, 2011-2012; uniform #67, #65
Signed as a free agent to the practice squad on September 5, 2011

Green Bay originally signed Nick McDonald as an undrafted rookie out of Grand Valley (Michigan) State in 2010, and he was on the roster for their Super Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. Nick did not survive final roster cuts with the Packers the following year, and the Pats signed him to their practice squad prior to week one in 2011. In a season that saw so many injuries that it caused the team to start five different players at center, McDonald was promoted to the active roster in December when Taylor Price was released, and nearly got a second super bowl ring. He was waived just after the 2013 training camp opened, and later played for the Browns.


Nick McDonald played in 16 games with three starts for the Patriots, and also appeared in two playoff games. At one time he and his brother Chris were in training camp for the Pats together; both had a less publicized real life Michael Oher-type Blindside movie youth.




McDonald at home on center stage | boston.com






Happy 83rd birthday to Jake Crouthamel
Born June 27, 1938 in Perkasie, PA
Patriot HB, 1960; uniform #34

Jake Crouthamel appeared in two games during the franchise's inaugural season, gaining 16 yards on four carries in an October loss at Denver. In 1965 he returned to his alma mater and became an assistant coach at Dartmouth. He was promoted to head coach in 1971 and immediately won three straight Ivy League championships. In 1978 Crouthamel moved on to Syracuse to become their athletic director, a position he held for 27 years. He played a key role in the formation of the Big East conference, and as AD his Syracuse teams won ten national championships.






Other notable pro football players born on this date:
- Doug Buffone (1944-2015); linebacker played in 188 games for the Bears from 1966 to 1979.

- Bobby Wagner, 31 (6/27/90); All Pro linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

- Julius Thomas, 31 (6/27/88); two-time Pro Bowl TE for Denver, now pursuing a PhD.
 

Pape

In the Starting Line-Up
Today in Patriots History
Jonas Gray


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.





Patriots Inactives: Jonas Gray will play versus Colts | boston.com

Tale of Two RBs: Jonas Gray Makes SI Cover While LeGarrette Blount Runs for Cover | boston.com













2015 (preseason vs GB)​



(Indy game, 7 minute highlight video)​



(4:32 highlights)​
The word gleeful was invented just to describe that game
 

Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
PatsFans.com Supporter
Thanks for reminding us, @jmt57.

I went back and watched the game and, Jonas Gray apart, there were some other very interesting things: the Colts' inability to run, on the one hand (Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw) while Luck and Coby Fleener carved up the Pats' secondary in the absence of much of a pass rush. Brady really didn't have his best game, despite the scoreline.

But best of all was Gronk throwing Sergio Brown out of the club on Gray's fourth (?) touchdown run and then going on an unstoppable run through the Colts' defense for a touchdown (with a skip into the endzone at the end) just because he was so fired up.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Today in Patriots History
Adam Vinatieri, Heath Irwin, Nick McDonald


June 27, 1996: New England signs undrafted rookie free agent Adam Vinatieri, from South Dakota State University, to compete with veteran placekicker Matt Bahr.


Happy 48th birthday to Heath Irwin
Born June 27, 1973 in Boulder, Colorado
Patriot G/C, 1996-1999; uniform #63
Pats 4th round (101st overall) pick of the 1996 draft, from Colorado

Over four seasons Heath Irwin appeared in 44 games with 17 starts for the Patriots, plus three playoff games following the '97 and '98 seasons. His brother Blake was also in training camp with the Pats in 1998. In '99 Irwin was tabbed by Pete Carroll to replace Dave Wohlabaugh at center, but instead took over for Max Lane as the starting left guard, while rookie Damien Woody started at center.


On March 1, 2000 the Dolphins signed Irwin as a veteran free agent to a four year contract. In two seasons there he played in 29 games with 7 starts; Irwin was left exposed to the 2002 expansion draft, and when not claimed he was released. His final NFL stop was with the Broncos in the 2003 off season, after a year with the Rams. Overall he played in 87 NFL games with 29 starts, and appeared in six playoff games. Irwin is now a high school football coach in Longmont Colorado and works in his family commercial real estate brokerage in Boulder.








Irwin Companies | About




Happy 34th birthday to Nick McDonald
Born June 27, 1987 in Salinas, California
Patriot G, 2011-2012; uniform #67, #65
Signed as a free agent to the practice squad on September 5, 2011

Green Bay originally signed Nick McDonald as an undrafted rookie out of Grand Valley (Michigan) State in 2010, and he was on the roster for their Super Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. Nick did not survive final roster cuts with the Packers the following year, and the Pats signed him to their practice squad prior to week one in 2011. In a season that saw so many injuries that it caused the team to start five different players at center, McDonald was promoted to the active roster in December when Taylor Price was released, and nearly got a second super bowl ring. He was waived just after the 2013 training camp opened, and later played for the Browns.


Nick McDonald played in 16 games with three starts for the Patriots, and also appeared in two playoff games. At one time he and his brother Chris were in training camp for the Pats together; both had a less publicized real life Michael Oher-type Blindside movie youth.




McDonald at home on center stage | boston.com






Happy 83rd birthday to Jake Crouthamel
Born June 27, 1938 in Perkasie, PA
Patriot HB, 1960; uniform #34

Jake Crouthamel appeared in two games during the franchise's inaugural season, gaining 16 yards on four carries in an October loss at Denver. In 1965 he returned to his alma mater and became an assistant coach at Dartmouth. He was promoted to head coach in 1971 and immediately won three straight Ivy League championships. In 1978 Crouthamel moved on to Syracuse to become their athletic director, a position he held for 27 years. He played a key role in the formation of the Big East conference, and as AD his Syracuse teams won ten national championships.






Other notable pro football players born on this date:
- Doug Buffone (1944-2015); linebacker played in 188 games for the Bears from 1966 to 1979.

- Bobby Wagner, 31 (6/27/90); All Pro linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

- Julius Thomas, 31 (6/27/88); two-time Pro Bowl TE for Denver, now pursuing a PhD.

I liked the Heath Irwin pick during the 1996 draft and thought that he would have a greater impact here than he ended up having...

I also liked the Nick McDonald signing after GB waived him during their TC...He was one of the better UDFA OLmen available after the 2010 draft...Never could shake the injury bug unfortunately.
 

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