It's not always easy to make a name for yourself as an undrafted rookie free agent in an NFL training camp. The task becomes even harder when you are trying to do so with the defending Super Bowl champions, arguably one of the deepest teams from top to bottom on the roster in all of football.
But through the first five days of training camp in New England, a mere seven practices into his professional life, rookie free agent corner back Randall Gay is opening some eyes by making plays on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The 5-11, 186-pound corner out of LSU has even done enough to draw some early, mild praise from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick.
"I respect the plays that he's making and we see those too," Belichick said Monday.
In four seasons with the Tigers, Gay played in 42 games with 16 starts for Nick Saban's defense. He recorded 122 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in that action as a corner, nickel back and even free safety. Now he is trying to turn the LSU football education into a job in New England.
"I just felt that this was a good situation for me because of the fact that the defense they run was very similar to the one we ran in college," Gay said of his decision to sign with the Patriots after going undrafted last April. "I felt I had a step ahead coming here. I just wanted put myself in the best situation to make an NFL team. That's what I am trying to do here right now."
So far that plan is working. Gay was one of the more notable players on the field during mini camp in June and is doing a solid job of showing up during seemingly every practice to this point in training camp.
"I am just out there doing the best I can," Gay said. "I got the opportunity to be here and I am just doing the best in everything that I can do to make the team."
Monday afternoon notes
Defensive end Rodney Bailey was placed on injured reserve on Monday after having surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. … The team released first-year free agent tackle Jack Fadule on Monday. The 6-5, 316-pound played in college at Harvard, earning All-Ivey League first-team honors as a senior in 2002. … Jarvis Green made his training camp debut in full pads. Green missed June mini camp and the first four days of training camp while recovering from a stress fracture in his foot. … Ty Law sat out the afternoon session. … Dan Koppen, Bob Hallen, Russ Hochstein and Joe Andruzzi handled the snaps for the four quarterbacks in pre-practice work. … David Givens missed his third-straight practice. … Defensive end Buck Rasmussen also made his training camp debut. … Aside from the returns of Green and Rasmussen, there continued to be a large group of players out of action including Matt Chatham, Asante Samuel, Willie McGinest, DeVonte Peterson, Ted Johnson, Matt Light, Tom Ashworth, Cedric Cobbs, Lonie Paxton, Jim Miller, Christian Fauria, Rosevelt Colvin and Eric Alexander. … Three offensive linemen and a running back took on the nose tackles and two inside linebackers in an interior running game segment. The offensive group dominated the exercise with the backs working their way up field untouched on virtually every rep. … A group of NFL officials will be in town tonight and over the next few days to review rule changes with the team and work the fields during some of the practice action. … With Law out of action veteran Terrell Buckley took the reps at corner with the first defensive unit during team segments. … Tom Brady and Deion Branch connected on a nice completion down the middle over Larry Izzo and in front of Rodney Harrison in the same team segment, working various down-and-distance situations. … Harrison gave Corey Dillon another good pop that sent the back to the ground on an outside run during the drill. … Richard Seymour and Adrian Klemm took penalty laps for jumping offside during one-on-one linemen drills. … Rookie Guss Scott was noticeably absent from the practice fields. … Brady and Bethel Johnson hooked up on a nice deep ball down the right side over Buckley during a team passing segment. … Klemm and Brandon Gorin continue to work at the left and right tackle spots respectively with the absences of Light and Ashworth. … Brady hit Kevin Faulk for a touchdown in the right side of the end zone in the first play o f red zone work that pitted ones versus ones. … Shawn Mayer took the nickel back reps in the drill. … With Paxton still rehabbing, rookie free agent Brian Sawyer has handled most of the snapping reps in camp, working punter Josh Miller and kicker Adam Vinatieri. … Patriots owner Robert Kraft arrived on the practice fields late to take in the end of practice from the sidelines.