Former England U20 Star Signs Deal To Play For NFL Team

Former England U20 Star Signs Deal To Play For NFL Team
By PJ Browne Updated
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Former England U20 captain Alex Gray has signed with NFL side Atlanta Falcons.

Gray has penned a one-year deal with last season's Super Bowl runners-up. The 26-year-old, who will play tight end, will be part of the Falcons' practice team, though he is not eligible to be activated during the season. He, along with a number of other NFL hopefuls, has been training in Florida for the past three months.

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Gray captained England to win the U20 Six Nations Grand Slam in 2011, a year in which they also lost out to New Zealand in the IRB World Junior Championship final.

Gray, who played number eight for London Irish, Newcastle and Yorkshire Carnegie, was also an England Sevens international.

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He told on NFL.com:

I have been working hard for this goal and to be told it was going to happen was an amazing moment,” he said. “This is the start of another journey. It is a fantastic thing that is happening, but I am not going to get to where I want to be without keeping myself grounded. Making the decision to give this my all from rugby, there was a big transition period and it was mentally very humbling. When you have to start from scratch again, that was a huge mental battle for me. When I look back I will be very proud of the way I approached this.

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

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