Jonas Gray didn't come out of nowhere but it wasn't far from there. He spent six weeks on the Patriots practice squad before injuries led the team to sign him to the 53-man roster. Before that, he was an undrafted free agent signed by the Dolphins who played at Notre Dame.
Gray entered Sunday night's game against the Colts with 32 career carries. Four quarters later, he had 38 carries for 199 yards and four touchdowns and the Pats cruised to a 42-20 victory. The last time a player scored four touchdowns in a game after having never previously scored at all? 1921. So, yes, this was a remarkable evening.
I'll probably go home tonight, when we get back around 4 a.m., and just lay in bed, look up at the ceiling and just be astonished at what's going on," Gray said, via ESPN.com. "Just writing a great story."
Part of that story includes Patriots owner Robert Kraft telling Gray that the young running back would play well against the Colts on Sunday Night Football.
"I remember walking into the building and Mr. Kraft pulled me aside and said, ‘You're going to have a big game this week, so be ready,'" Gray said. "Just hearing that from the owner, just hearing that from the head coach, hearing that from the leaders of the team definitely gives you a positive outlook and definitely gives you the mindset to go out and do your best."
Coach Bill Belichick admitted that Gray, who spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad serving, in his words, as a tackling dummy for Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, almost made the team out of training camp
"We talked about that long and hard," the coach said. "We really talked about bringing him up on the roster several weeks before we did. I had several conversations with him in previous weeks, telling him, ‘You're close. We want to try to get you on the roster but right now we've had a couple other issues we've had to deal with.' I think we all felt as a coaching staff that he would be playing for us at some point this year at that final cut. Obviously we didn't want to expose him, but we did what we thought was best."
Now Gray is an integral part of the league's most explosive offense.