Giants’ Eric Gray credits DeMarco Murray for personal, professional growth
Retired Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was a long-time rival of the New York Giants. But life in the NFL has a way of circling back around and for everything Murray taketh from the Giants, he now giveth through fifth-round pick Eric Gray.
Gray transferred from Tennessee to Oklahoma in January of 2021 and then his career took off. He became an all-around talent and in 2022, set career marks with 1,366 rushing yards, 229 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns.
Now, Gray is with the Giants and will battle for the job to backup superstar Saquon Barkley. It’s something he feels he owes to Murray.
“DeMarco was a big important piece for me and kind of the reason I went to Oklahoma. I feel like him playing the game at a high level, he could teach me a lot about being a pro in this league, what it takes to be a pro, what I need to do to get better to get to this level,” Gray told reporters on Saturday.
Murray was an ace up the sleeve for Gray, who got to learn firsthand what it took to be a professional. Those lessons served him well.
“The most important thing I took from him is just being a pro every single day, no matter what’s going on,” Gray said. “Everybody has something going on, and you have to be on your P’s and Q’s every single day.
“DeMarco was the key to teaching me a lot about being successful in this league.”
Gray now needs to take what he learned from Murray and apply it to NFL life. The good news is he got a headstart in terms of film study, understanding coverages, and the overall mental aspect of the game.
“He knows about playing in the flow, playing in the heat of the battle, being out there and knowing fronts, knowing coverages. He taught me a lot about reading the defense before the play happens, reading it pre-snap to give you a feel on where the ball is going to hit or even protection maybe,” Gray said.
Gray is expected to play a significant role for the Giants in 2023, both on offense and special teams.
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