Jonas Gray

XFL Notes: Robinson, Cook, Aguayo, Cobb, Gray, Broyles, Boyer, Locke, Novak, Ollie

The relaunched XFL is gearing up for its first season, and they’re starting to announce more and more of their initial player pool. There are a lot of ex-NFL guys in the mix, and we’ll get to that in just a bit, but at least one notable college player is looking to jump right in. Former West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson is entering the XFL draft pool, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk. Robinson was dismissed from West Virginia for academic fraud earlier this year. Florio writes that he was “considered a likely draft choice,” but hadn’t been in school long enough to be eligible for the NFL, which requires you to be three years removed from high school graduation.

That left Robinson with the options of looking for a new school to play at, or entering an alternative pro league. “Now they can see how I hold up mentally and physically,” Robinson told Andy Staples of The Athletic. “They’ll see me playing against guys who have actually been in the NFL and done it.” Robinson will be an early test case for what the XFL is hoping more players opt to do. Ever since they announced they were coming back, the XFL has attempted to position itself as a league for talented high school and college players to consider as an alternative to the NCAA. As Florio notes, Robinson will be eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft. In 12 games for the Mountaineers last year he had 77 tackles and four interceptions, earning a first-team All-Big 12 nod.

And now, onto the NFL alums:

  • In the first group of players that the league announced on Twitter, a few names jumped out. Former Michigan State and Raiders quarterback Connor Cook is on the list. Cook was drafted by Oakland in the fourth-round back in 2016, and even ended up starting a playoff game for them that year after injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. He spent 2017 as a third-stringer and was released at final cuts the following year. He was briefly with the Lions earlier this offseason, but was waived back in June.
  • Everybody’s favorite kicker Roberto Aguayo was also on the list, as were running backs David Cobb and Jonas Gray. Aguayo, of course, was infamously drafted by the Buccaneers in the second-round back in 2016. He lasted only one year as the Bucs’ kicker despite his draft status, and has become a punchline ever since. Cobb had a brief run as the Titans’ lead back in 2015, but never did anything after that. He most recently played in the AAF with the San Antonio Commanders. Gray was with the Patriots in 2014, and won Super Bowl XLIX with the team. Gray randomly had an absurd week in November of that year, rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns. He quickly fell out of favor, and was released by New England the following year. He hasn’t even been in a training camp since 2016.
  • Earlier Tuesday, the XFL posted to Twitter their second batch of players. Among the notable names was receiver Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick of the Lions back in 2012. Broyles, a legendary Oklahoma player, showed some promise as a rookie, but injuries derailed his career after that. He last appeared in a regular season game in 2014. There were also a few interesting specialists on the list in longsnapper Nate Boyer, punter Jeff Locke, and kicker Nick Novak. Boyer spent six years in the military and served in Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming a walk-on at Texas. He spent the 2015 offseason with the Seahawks, but was ultimately released. Notably, he is the player who advised Colin Kaepernick to kneel rather than sit during the national anthem. Locke spent four seasons as the Vikings’ punter. Novak is a veteran NFL kicker who spent over a decade in the league from 2005-20017. Ronald Ollie, one of the stars of the popular Netflix show ‘Last Chance U’, is also on the list.


Extra Points: May 16 Rule, Patriots, Gray

With social activism on the rise across the NFL, the league and the players’ union came together this week to hold a “productive conversation,” the two sides announced in a joint press release. Representing the NFL were commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants owner John Mara, and Steelers owner Art Rooney. NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith and president Eric Winston were in attendance, along with Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, quarterback Kirk Cousins, and Jets linebacker Demario Davis.

Many players have engaged in protests during the national anthem, but Colin Kaepernick‘s unemployment still looms large over the NFL. At this point, it’s hard to see Kaepernick getting an NFL opportunity this year, but teams could be more receptive to signing him next offseason.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • The NFL is working to change the so-called “May 16 rule” which prevents rookies from participating in football activities if their schools are in session, regardless of whether they are still enrolled (link via’s Tom Pelissero). No vote is required to pass the change, but the plan is still being finalized. Historically, we have seen this rule affect Pac-12 players. This year, that included Stanford products Solomon Thomas (49ers) and Christian McCaffrey (Panthers). Washington, Northwestern, Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA also had exams after June 1.
  • Former Patriots running back Jonas Gray was arrested on Wednesday for failure to pay child support, as Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Less than 24 hours after turning himself in, Gray was released. Gray ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns against Indianapolis in November 2014 and seemed to have a bright future in New England. However, he has not been on the field since games with the Dolphins and Jaguars in 2015 and has not been in the league since final cuts during the preseason of 2016. His last mention on the pages of PFR came in December 2016 when he auditioned for Seattle.

Workout Updates: Seahawks, Patriots, Ravens

The Seahawks, with a below-average rushing attack and Thomas Rawls nursing a shoulder injury, worked out five free agent running backs Tuesday, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Stevan Ridley, Jonas Gray, Dan Herron, LaMichael James and Dominique Williams all auditioned for the club. The most established member of the group is Ridley, who has been available since Atlanta released him Nov. 23. The 27-year-old has just one appearance and three carries to his name this season and has seen his playing time sharply decline since a 1,263-yard campaign with New England in 2012. Gray, also an ex-Pat, has made little impact since averaging 4.6 yards per attempt on 89 carries in 2014, his rookie year. He hasn’t found an employer since the Jaguars waived him Aug. 17.

Along with those rushers, defensive back L.J. McCray visited the Seahawks, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. The Seahawks agreed to acquire McCray from the 49ers back in early September, but the deal fell through after he failed his physical. San Francisco then cut McCray, who hasn’t landed anywhere since.

More workouts from Tuesday:

  • The Patriots auditioned linebacker Arthur Brown, according to Doug Kyed of NESN (Twitter link). Both the Jaguars and Jets have cut Brown this month. He entered the league in 2013 as Baltimore’s second-round pick.
  • Cornerbacks Tharold Simon and Steve Williams tried out for the Ravens, per ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Simon made nine appearances earlier this season with the Cardinals, who cut him last week. He’s better known for his 11-appearance, five-start tenure with Seattle from 2014-15. Williams, meanwhile, moved on and off the Rams’ roster multiple times this year. He has totaled six appearances this season (five with San Diego) after playing in 14 games with the Chargers and intercepting two passes last year.
  • The Falcons worked out three tight ends – Orson Charles, Darion Griswold and Joel Ruiz – and defensive end Martin Ifedi, reports Howard Balzer of (Twitter link). Griswold and Ifedi ended up signing with their practice squad.
  • The Dolphins also took a look at the aforementioned Tharold Simon, who joined fellow corner Demetrius McCray and two tight ends – Gabe Hughes and Chris Pantaletweets Caplan.
  • Tight end Rob Housler showcased himself to the Colts, relays Caplan (Twitter link). The five-year veteran has 109 catches, nearly all of which (105) came with Arizona from 2011-14.
  • The Eagles auditioned wide receiver Greg Ellingson, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and Canadian Football League punter Richie Leone, according to Caplan (Twitter links).
  • Defensive ends Rufus Johnson and Rakim Cox worked out for the Lions (Twitter links via Caplan and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Linebackers Deon Lacey and Glenn Love tried out for the Cardinals, per Balzer (Twitter link).

Vikings Work Out RB Jonas Gray

The Vikings worked out free agent running back Jonas Gray today, reports Ben Goessling of Gray has been on the open market since being waived off injured reserve by the Jaguars in late August.Jonas Gray (Vertical)

[RELATED: Norv Turner Resigns As Vikings OC]

Minnesota should seeing another running back return to the field on Sunday, as Jerick McKinnon participated in practice today and confirmed to reporters, including Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter link), that he expects to play against the Lions this weekend. With McKinnon sidelined in Week 8, Matt Asiata managed 42 yards on 14 carries, while Ronnie Hillman — seeing significant snaps for the first time all year — posted four rushes for 15 yards.

Gray, 26, is most known for his brief tenure in New England, which featured a 201-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance against the Colts in November 2014. That showing represented a significant portion of Gray’s production as a rookie. All told, he amassed 89 carries (37 in the Indy game) for 412 yards and five scores in eight contests. Gray has also spent time with the Dolphins and, most recently, the Jaguars.

Gray’s audition with the Vikings was his third known workout this year, as he’s also met with the Lions and Dolphins.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/1/16

Tuesday is workout day in the NFL, and today was no different. Due to the sheer volume of today’s auditions, we’ll split up the reports by conference:



Lions Work Out Jonas Gray, Daniel Thomas

The Lions are thin at running back after placing Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve last week, so they’re taking a look at free agents that are available on the open market. Detroit worked out Jonas Gray, Daniel Thomas, and Mike James, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). Jonas Gray (Vertical)

[RELATED: Lions Place Ameer Abdullah On IR]

Gray, 26, is most known for his brief tenure in New England, which featured a 201-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance against the Colts in November 2014. That showing represented a significant portion of Gray’s production as a rookie. All told, he amassed 89 carries (37 in the Indy game) for 412 yards and five scores in eight contests. Gray has also spent time with the Dolphins and, most recently, the Jaguars.

In four seasons with Miami, Thomas ran for 1,480 yards off of 409 attempts, good for just 3.6 yards per carry. In 2014, he saw time in 12 games, rushing for 168 yards off of 44 carries, and proceeded to sign with the Bears, but didn’t make the final roster. The 28-year-old Thomas was out of the league entirely in 2015 as he made the rounds on the workout circuit, but had a brief second stint with the Dolphins before being cut earlier this month.

Jame, like Gray, has one notable game under his belt, a 2013 contest against the Seahawks where he ran for 158 yards on 28 carries as a member of the Buccaneers. Those yards, however, represent nearly half of his career total, and James hasn’t been a key contributor since. After spending the 2015 campaign on Tampa’s practice squad, he was waived with an injury settlement earlier this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/24/16

Today’s minor moves from around the NFL:

  • Chargers defensive tackle Damion Square has been suspended for four games by the NFL for a substance abuse violation, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Square was a restricted free agent San Diego initially elected not to tender during the offseason, but the team later re-signed him to a cheaper one-year deal. The 27-year-old played in six games last year and started in one after being promoted from the practice squad in November.
  • The Jaguars cut running back Jonas Gray from IR via injury settlement, as Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union tweets.
  • The Eagles announced that they have waived wide receiver Hunter Sharp with an injury settlement.
  • The Chargers have reached an injury settlement with wideout Rico Richardson, per Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Ravens and defensive back Sam Brown have reached an injury settlement, according to Wilson (via Twitter).

Jaguars Waive Jonas Gray, Claim T.J. Barnes

The Jaguars have waived-injured running back Jonas Gray and claimed defensive tackle T.J. Barnes off waivers from the Bills, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union was among those to report (Twitter link).

Gray has been dealing with a quad issue since Aug. 4, tweets O’Halloran. The Jags signed the 26-year-old off the Dolphins’ practice squad last December, and he went on to appear in two of Jacksonville’s games and log 14 carries for 54 yards. Prior to that, the former Notre Dame back amassed 31 rushes for 122 yards in six games with Miami.

Gray is most known for his brief tenure in New England, which featured a 201-yard, four-touchdown rushing performance against the Colts in November 2014. That showing represented a significant portion of Gray’s production as a rookie. All told, he amassed 89 carries (37 in the Indy game) for 412 yards and five scores in eight contests. With a mere 10 carries in the Pats’ final four games, including their run to a Super Bowl title, Gray fizzled out down the stretch and ended up receiving his release.

This will be the second stint in Jacksonville for Barnes, who signed with the club as an undrafted free agent agent from Georgia Tech in 2013. His time with the Jags lasted just four months, however, as they cut him in the preseason. Barnes spent the past three seasons as a member of the Jets and Bills, with whom he combined for 16 appearances (one start) and eight tackles.

Jaguars Sign Jonas Gray

1:03pm: The Jaguars have officially signed Gray, cutting wide receiver Rashad Lawrence to create an opening for the running back, per a team release.

9:21am: Former Patriots running back Jonas Gray is moving from one Florida team’s roster to another, as the Jaguars are signing Gray from off the Dolphins’ practice squad, agent Sean Stellato tells Adam Schefter of (Twitter link).

Gray, 25, was on Miami’s active roster for several games earlier this season, earning 31 carries for 122 yards, along with six receptions for another 72 yards. The Notre Dame product emerged as a potential starter for the Pats last season during his 201-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Colts, but was leapfrogged on the club’s depth chart by LeGarrette Blount and others down the stretch, ultimately leading to his release.

For the Jaguars, Gray provides some insurance in the backfield as starter T.J. Yeldon deals with a knee injury. If Yeldon is unable to play, Denard Robinson figures to see the bulk of the carries for Jacksonville, and Joe Banyard may be in the mix as well, but Gray could get some touches down the stretch.

Dolphins Add Jonas Gray To Practice Squad

In what has seemingly become a weekly occurrence in 2015, the Dolphins have signed Jonas Gray to their practice squad, as agent Sean Stellato tells Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Gray was released by Miami on Tuesday to make room for center Sam Brenner.

[RELATED: Click here for the rest of Wednesday’s practice squad moves from around the league.]

Gray was subject to waivers after being cut by the Dolphins and some speculated that he could have been a fit for his old team, the Patriots. However, it appears that the Pats declined an opportunity for a reunion, even though Dion Lewis is done for the season with a torn ACL.

Gray, 25, wasn’t a huge part of Miami’s ground attack this season, but earned 31 carries for 122 yards, along with six receptions for another 72 yards. With rookie Jay Ajayi coming off IR-DTR in Week 9 and looking good, Gray no longer had a real place on the Dolphins’ 53-man roster, making him expendable.

Gray emerged as a potential starter during his 201-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Colts during the 2014 season, but was leapfrogged on the Pats depth chart by LeGarrette Blount and others down the stretch. He has yet to make a major mark in 2015.