Former England Star Swaps Rugby For NFL

Former England Sevens star Alex Gray has become the first English rugby union professional to quit the sport to take up American Football.

Gray, who was England Sevens player of the year in 2015 and made over 40 Premiership appearances for London Irish, has signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.

He also captained the likes of Owen Farrell, George Ford and Jonathan Joseph to the Under-20 Grand Slam and Junior World Championship Final in 2011, but has quit the sport after being offered a place on the NFL’s International Player Pathway programme.

Gray impressed during trials in Florida and the 26 year-old has been offered a contract as a tight end by the Falcons, who lost 34-28 to the New England Patriots in February’s Super Bowl. He will be part of the Falcons’ practice team, aiming to be given a place on the franchise’s full roster from next season.

“I have been working hard for this goal and to be told it was going to happen was an amazing moment,” said Gray.
“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.”


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