Gray tunes out talk of Memphis job
Secondary coach Jerry Gray today declined to directly address news reports that he will be named the new head coach at the University of Memphis - possibly as early as this week - and preferred to focus on the Redskins' upcoming game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
But Gray acknowledged the situation has been somewhat of a distraction, prompting him to focus even harder on his current duties. "It's tough right now, because if you take a look, we got [the] Philadelphia Eagles this week, and you got a whole bunch of other stuff going, and the distractions are around," Gray said while speaking on behalf of the defense during his weekly media session at Redskins Park. "I think our guys are grown enough to understand that, you know, the distractions are going to be there. But the thing you got to do is still focus in a little bit harder.
"It's good, in my case, because the distractions are out there. And I know that I've got to keep myself more focused on Philadelphia, and not look around and say, 'Okay, this happening and this happening.' We got to really focus in on the Philadelphia Eagles. It is real hard. And to me, with a lot of stuff going on, I think it makes you a better coach. The guys don't get off track because you don't let yourself get off track. You focus more on what your job is at hand. And this week, Philly, they're a good team. We know we got a good defense."
Gray, who interviewed for the position Tuesday, is believed to have received a strong endorsement from Frederick W. Smith - a member of the Redskins' ownership group who also is chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx and is among the university's biggest boosters. One of Smith's sons is a quarterback in the program and Smith reportedly plans to provide an infusion of cash to upgrade the team's facilities in an effort to raise the program's profile nationally.
If Memphis hires Gray, it is unclear when he would leave and who would assume his duties. Gray is defensive coordinator Greg Blache's top lieutenant and he leads the league's top-ranked defense against the pass. He also happens to be the team's spokesperson on defense.
"When a lot more distraction things are going on," Gray said, "I tend to focus a lot more and hone out everything else."
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