Power DB Gray improves on his play against Soul
TribLIVE Sports Videos
With his high ankle sprain adequately —but not completely — healed, defensive back Virgil Gray re-entered the Power lineup July 19 in Iowa.
Two months and seven games as a spectator didn't prevent Gray from returning an interception for a touchdown against the Barnstormers. Yet when teammates and coaches approached him after the game to offer congratulations, Gray barely could look at them.
“He was down,” coach Ron James said. “You could see it on his face. I think he fought through a lot of things, but he wasn't pleased with his performance.”
The scene in the Power locker room Saturday was decidedly different after Gray led his team to its 12th consecutive victory, 64-34 against a potent Philadelphia Soul offense.
This time, Gray was pleased.
In the Power's final game before opening the playoffs Sunday in Orlando, Gray intercepted two passes, tying him with Chris LeFlore and Sergio Gilliam for the franchise career record (11) after only one season with the team. Plus, he was almost everywhere the two Soul quarterbacks looked, batting away passes, blanketing receivers and finishing with eight of his team's 12 pass breakups.
“I told Virgil, ‘Welcome back,' ” James said.
Gray, who approaches his craft with the seriousness of any professional at any level, said he personally was offended by his performance in Iowa.
“Everyone was saying, ‘It's your first game back. Don't worry about it.' But just the competitor I am, I expected to come out there and perform to my best,” he said.
The Power's 62-61 victory against Orlando on May 24 was the team's first without Gray. Here's what happened:
• Former Florida State player Greg Carr and Larry Brackins, a 2005 draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, combined to catch 12 passes for 196 yards and five touchdowns.
• The Power had only three pass breakups and no interceptions.
• The Predators' point total was the third-most against the Power this season.
James said Gray's presence against Orlando's two big receivers — Carr is 6-foot-6; Brackins is 6-5 — will be important. Gray played in the past three ArenaBowls for the Arizona Rattlers, winning two.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.