Bath have delved into the American football market to bolster their midfield for the 2020/21 season, signing Atlanta Falcons tight-end Alex Gray, the ex-England 7s rugby player who previously featured for Yorkshire Carnegie, London Irish and Newcastle.
The 29-year-old had called time on his rugby career to see could he make it as an American footballer in the NFL. Now, after three years in the Falcons practice squad, he has returned to England to give rugby a second go.
It was 2016 when Gray put his rugby career on hold to chase his NFL dream. After progressing through the NFL’s international player pathway programme in Florida, he was snapped up by Atlanta and has been part of their practice squad since then.
Standing at 6ft 4ins and weighing 113kgs, Bath are hoping Gray will bring “an exciting point of difference after being carefully selected through a rigorous recruitment process”.
Explaining why he chased down Gray’s signature, Bath boss Stuart Hooper told the club website: “Alex is a confident and very talented rugby player who brings in a lot of experience to the group.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) November 19, 2020
“He is an adventurous individual that has done a lot of great things in this sport as well as striving to earn a career in the NFL in his most recent professional outing. We have been keeping tabs on Alex for a long time now and when the opportunity arose to sign him, we couldn’t pass on that.
“He will join up with a talented group of players with calibre for their attacking style of play. I’m confident that he will fit seamlessly into the group here at Bath and we look forward to seeing how he develops his game.”
Bath have form for trying to integrate players from other sports into their squad, signing Sam Burgess from rugby league in Australia in 2014.
The back row band are back together ??????? https://t.co/4OSg6FwzfM
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 19, 2020
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