Texas running back Johnathan Gray breaks away in the second quarter against Cal Sept. 19, 2015 at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. JAY JANNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Pro timing day notebook: Johnathan Gray not giving up NFL hopes just yet

Posted March 23rd, 2016

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Though evidence may suggest otherwise, Johnathan Gray insists he’s not cursed and that he’s moving forward with an eye on making an NFL roster.

Gray, who two months ago ruptured his Achilles for a second time, attended Wednesday’s pro day at Texas but wasn’t able to participate in drills. He says he hopes to be healed by September, at which time he’ll begin training for a comeback.

Realistically, he won’t play in the 2016 season.

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“Just another bump in the road. Something you have to live with,” Gray said. “Just gotta keep pushing forward with your goals.”

Gray, who ranks No. 12 on Texas’ career rushing list, said he tore his Achilles while running down the field on a punt return during a training session in the Fort Worth area. He said he is rehabbing at UT and recently began walking in water.

Asked to evaluate his college career, Gray, a former Gatorade national player of the year at Aledo, said, “It wasn’t what I wanted to happen, but it happened. Ups and downs, but that’s OK. My career was OK. Would have liked to do better, but gotta keep moving forward.”

Linebacker Peter Jinkens, who is in a similar boat as Gray recovering from ACL surgery, said Gray is in good spirits.

“We talk about what could have been,” Jinkens said. “He’s doing good on his rehab. He’s a tough guy.”

Jinkens said he’ll be able to begin training in late May or early June.

Daje hurt: Sticking on the topic of injuries, Daje Johnson tweaked his hamstring while participating in the 40-yard dash on Wednesday.

Still, he said he had a good day overall and believes he improved his draft chances.

“It’s something I can overcome,” Johnson said. “I felt like I helped myself overall.”

Johnson, a versatile threat on offense, said he’s looking forward to latching onto a team as either a receiver, running back or returner. The Hendrickson product could be an intriguing prospect if scouts determine his talents were muted the past two seasons due to his disciplinary problems and UT’s disjointed offense.

Johnson missed almost two full games in 2015 with a concussion and finished with 37 catches for 415 yards and one touchdown.

DBU: Cornerback Duke Thomas said he’s looking forward to carrying on the tradition at DBU in the NFL.

“It’s our mentality since we got here as freshmen — that’s the expectation,” Thomas said. “Everyone understands we’re trying to get to the next level.”

Thomas said he set a personal record with 17 reps in the bench press.

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