He also received something else a bit unexpected: A new teammate at running back in LeGarrette Blount.
“I wasn’t necessarily surprised. In this business, not a whole lot surprises me, especially given where I’ve come from,” Gray said Thursday, the day the Patriots inked Blount to a two-year contract. “I just prepare the same way -- it doesn’t matter who we sign or who we bring here. I believe in Bill [Belichick] and whatever he’s doing.”
Gray explained his first practice with Blount as one in which an immediate connection was made.
“We kind of knew of each other beforehand, and the guys here have nothing but good things to say about him. It’s kind of funny, that running back position, they always talk about the camaraderie, so right away, even on the practice field, we acted like we’ve known each other for a long time,” he said.
“I’m excited, man. I think it’s going to be something good for us. For a team, what we want to do long-term, when these cold-weather games start coming up, I think it’s going to help. He’s a great guy to learn from, too, and I think we’re going to both motivate each other.”
Gray (230 pounds) and Blount (250 pounds) fall into the “big back” category in the Patriots’ backfield, while 205-pound Shane Vereen brings a contrasting style.
The Patriots are known to ride the hot hand, and Gray relayed that he’s on board for whatever the coaches have in store.
“I just pretty much go with whatever the game-plan is. I know even if he wasn’t here, you never know what your opportunity is going to look like,” he said. “I’m preparing the same way I always prepare, and when my number is called, I’m going to execute.
“I never get into questioning what the coaches do. I believe in the system. It’s worked for me. I believe in the Patriot Way. It’s worked for a long time.”