Former Patriots Running Back to Play in XFL

jonas gray

Getty Jonas Gray.

The day is November 16, 2014. The New England Patriots are facing the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Patriots were thin at running back during the mid-season slog and promoted a former undrafted Notre Dame product named Jonas Gray to the active roster exactly one month before meeting the Colts. Gray had provided some excitement a week earlier with an 86-yard performance on 17 carries, but no one could have imagined what he accomplished in Indianapolis.

From relative unknown to the NFL forefront, Gray had burst onto the NFL scene at the expense of Indianapolis, rushing 37 times and amassing 201 yards by night’s end. But since that fateful night, Gray had faded back into football obscurity until now.

The former New England running back is one of several notable former NFL players to be included on the XFL draft list for the league’s inaugural season. The XFL Draft, which will be held over two days from October 15-16, will consist of 71 rounds.

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Where It All Went Wrong

Gray had appeared to be among the great success stories among undrafted players in recent history following his performance against the Colts. New England was coming off a bye week when Gray had his career-best game. Setting a franchise record with four rushing touchdowns in a 42-20 win for the Patriots over the Colts it seemed New England had found a new, young running back for the future.

But that optimism for both sides quickly turned to hopelessness.

As New England’s running backs grew healthy, including their bruising back LeGarrette Blount, the need for Gray lessened. Less than a week after he became an overnight sensation, Gray showed up late to a Friday practice and was ultimately benched for the Patriots following contest against the Detroit Lions.

Gray’s lack of touches soon turned into a lack of dressing altogether and he was left inactive for the entirety of New England’s 2014 postseason run that included a Super Bowl title. He was released prior to the start of the 2015 season.

He spent 2015 with both Miami and Jacksonville splitting time between the practice squad and the active roster before heading to injured reserve. After being released in August 2016 from the Jaguars IR, he hasn’t seen a football field since.

Other Patriots on the XFL Draft List

Jonas Gray isn’t the only member of the Super Bowl XLIX champions on the XFL Draft players list. Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga is also included as a notable player.

Undrafted out of Utah, Siliga soon landed with the Patriots where he played in 25 games between 2013-15. During that time he recorded 83 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He most recently suited up in the Alliance of American Football with the Salt Lake Stallions.

The other former Patriot is wide receiver Devin Lucien. After spending parts of three seasons in New England and failing to make the active roster, he landed in the AAF with the Memphis Express.

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