Know one thing about former Texas Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray — he’s a fighter.
After spending more than a year rehabilitating a second torn Achilles tendon, Gray earned an invite to a rookie tryout at a New York Giants mini-camp.
Gray earned at least a nod from the Giants after testing well at the Texas Pro Day in March, his first opportunity to do so publicly since he suffered the tear preparing for the NFL Draft in early 2016. In late March, Gray ran a 40-yard dash in the mid 4.5s and registered a 36-inch vertical leap.
Credit Gray’s persistency and the help of a former Longhorns running back who suffered through his own injuries at Texas — Jeremy Hills, who now runs a training facility in Austin.
During that stretch, Gray had to scrape together an existence from a number of different sources.
“Training, training kids, high school kids, college kids,” Gray said of his efforts over the last year. “Doing coaching out in Westlake. Anything to keep the bills paid, and just training myself to get back to my Pro Day and get back in the flow of football. I miss it, so it feels great to come out here in front of all the scouts and show what I can do and hopefully keep it going forward in the future of football.”
Though things continue to move forward, the record-setting back out of Aledo still has a tough journey ahead of himself in his quest to make an NFL roster, as he’ll compete with eight other invitees at the tryout.
Whatever happens at that point probably matters less to Gray than how far he’s made it already — like David Ash, Gray surely doesn’t want his giant following him over the coming years.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s relief. It’s happy,” Gray said. “But really, it’s time to go to work. I know my parents are happy that their son is on the verge of a job.”