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Transcript - J.T. Gray conference call 3/5/21

New Orleans Saints safety and special teams ace J.T. Gray talked to the media after recently signing a two-year contract extension with New Orleans.

New Orleans Saints Defensive Back J.T. Gray
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, March 5, 2021

Opening Remarks:
"First of all, I want to thank Mrs. Benson, Mr. Mickey Loomis and Coach Sean Payton for presenting this opportunity to showcase my skills and make a better way."

Obviously, you joined the team as an undrafted guy. Just being able to stick around just how does it feel knowing that they had that kind of faith in you and wanted to keep you around?
"It made me feel good because I take this very personally. Just with the work ethic and coming in every day and being consistent. It's a blessing just to have the opportunity presented to me going into this situation."

What went into your thought process of doing the extension? Sometimes players believe the grass is greener somewhere else, but you seem to have found your role here so what went into your thought process in the extension?
"Different situations call for different measures. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, but with me, I have made the decision to just stay here and leave my mark here."

Just knowing that you were an undrafted guy and you had to work to make the roster, how much does it mean to you to get to this point where you get the second contract?
"It means a lot. Just by coming in, not knowing where I was going to land and not knowing the future or what's the destination, but just coming in and grinding it out each and every day? Just shifting my mindset."

How much growth do you think you've made just being in the system with a good special teams coach, a punter like Thomas (Morstead), having a guy like (Justin) Hardee on the other side, just how much do you feel like the atmosphere has helped you grow?
"I want to appreciate those guys because I would never be in the position that I am right now if it wasn't for Hardee or T-Mo (Thomas Morstead) or any other special team guys on the team that helped me get to the position that I'm at right now."

Talking about special teams, when you joined the team a couple seasons ago, how much did you think that special teams would go on to kind of put you in this position?
"Me, I've been playing special teams all my life. And I know that special teams is one third of the game and it comes in critical situations in the game. One play in the game can change the whole game."

How big has it been for your development just being around these guys these last couple years? Like how much have you learned?
"I've learned a lot really just coming in under these guys. Asking them what they're used to, asking them how they adjust to the game and just adding their tools to my tools and basically just slowing the game down."

I wanted to ask you about (Thomas) Morstead since you just talked about him, but how much are you going miss having a guy like that around and just what did he kind of mean to you as a teammate?
"He means a lot. He's a well-rounded guy. I go in and ask him a couple of things and he gives me the answers I need. Just out there on the field, (he's) just a meter out there, putting the ball where it needs to be. And that's a guy that I can always depend on to be there whenever I need him."

Just now that you've got the extension, what are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish now that you've kind of got the next couple seasons?
"The goal is to always get better, get better each and every day and to show what I can do on the field on a defensive side as well and become better."

You mentioned that special teams is one third of the game. What's your mindset on each special team snap?
"My mindset is to go out there and dominate. It can be a perfect play to someone else but to me, I'm very critical of myself on special teams each and every play."

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