Gray makes NFL debut back in Minneapolis

MarQueis Gray is now a player on the Cleveland Browns’ active roster.

Cleveland Browns tight end MarQueis Gray warms up before playing against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Amanda Snyder

Cleveland Browns tight end MarQueis Gray warms up before playing against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at the Metrodome.

Samuel Gordon

MarQueis Gray watched from the plane as the Gophers improved to 4-0 with a 43-24 win over San Jose State on Saturday.

“I try to watch them every Saturday,” said Gray, who played for the Gophers from 2009-12. “They’re looking pretty good. My man Mitch [Leidner] had four touchdowns. I was proud of him for that.”

While Minnesota was taking care of business, Gray was en route to Minneapolis — this time as a member of the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns beat the Vikings 31-27 on Sunday in Gray’s NFL debut.

Gray is listed as a tight end on the official roster, but he played special teams Sunday and was a staple on the Browns’ kickoff and kick return teams.

He was active Sunday for the first time this season, and he was more than ready to go.

“I learned at a lot in practice from the [veterans] we got,” Gray said. “It was fun to be out there.”

It’s been a long and winding road for the former Gophers quarterback.

Gray went undrafted in April and signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He spent July and August in the 49ers’ training camp but was waived as teams trimmed their rosters before the season.

A day later, Cleveland called. And Gray picked up the phone.

“They said, ‘Congratulations, you’re a Cleveland Brown,’” he said. “They flew me out there the same day.”

After landing in Cleveland, Gray went straight to a hotel, had a physical and practiced with the team the next day.

Gray, who is married with twin sons and a stepdaughter, said the transition has been easy for his family.

“It’s a lot less expensive living in Cleveland than in San Francisco,” he said. “Wherever I go, that’s where they’re going to go.”

Gray said he is working with the offense in practice and hopes to eventually see some playing time at tight end.

But right now, he’s all in as a special teamer.

“Anything I can do to make sure I’m staying on this team and staying in the NFL is what I’m here for,” he said. “I told the coaches, and they pretty much know I’m all for it.”