SI cover jinx hits Jonas Gray the hardest
Jonas Gray’s week: One Sports Illustrated cover, one AFC offensive player of the week award and zero playing time.
Gray, last weekend’s NFL star, found out that there’s no credit given for great games under Bill Belichick. Everyone is eligible to get in the doghouse.
Gray had 201 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. He was a no-name, undrafted player who had an enormous game for the Patriots and was such a great story that he landed on the cover of SI. That turned out to be the kiss of death.
Gray was late to the Patriots’ facility on Friday. He was sent home, which is Belichick’s rule (star cornerback Darrelle Revis got the same treatment earlier this season). He was told he wouldn’t start. And by kickoff Sunday, he had a prime seat next to Belichick on the sideline.
Shane Vereen played. LeGarrette Blount, who was cut by the Steelers after a tantrum about playing time and signed by New England during the week, played and got a pair of touchdowns. Brandon Bolden, who hadn’t gotten a carry since Oct. 12, played.
And as the Patriots built up a big lead going into the fourth quarter, Gray didn’t get on the field.
It was a perfect opportunity for Belichick to send a message. Four touchdowns, 200 yards, the cover of SI … doesn’t matter. You have to show up on time. Unless you’re Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, if you don’t follow the rules in New England, you can expect the punishment to be swift.