Baltimore Brigade wide receiver Reggie Gray won an ArenaBowl MVP in 2015 with the San Jose SaberCats. Brigade fans will be hopeful that Gray’s playoff experience can help their team pull off a massive upset this weekend. On Saturday, Baltimore will face the top seeded Philadelphia Soul in the first round of the Arena Football League playoffs. The Brigade finished their first regular season 4-10, while the Soul ended with only one loss at 13-1. This first round matchup may seem like a walk in the park for Philadelphia, until you remember, it was Baltimore that gave them their only blemish. But, Gray knows that the regular season and playoffs are two different animals. “The intensity changes. The mindset that we could go home with one false step or one false move. You prepare for it all week, but you could be not playing football just the next week,” he explains.
With some of the players, and the team itself, playing their first ever playoff game, the star wide receiver advice is all about confidence. Gray states, “You have to take the mindset that no one can stop you. No matter who they put in front of you, no matter what the coach calls, I’m going to go out there and execute. And if you’re a young player, you have to do the same thing. You’re the best at what you do and no one can stop you.” AFL defensive backs have had trouble guarding Gray since he was one of those young players. He’s in the top 20 in AFL history for career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Gray finished the regular season with 70 catches, 15 of those for touchdowns. Reflecting on the first regular season in Baltimore Brigade history, Gray summarizes,” It had its ups and downs. As far as our record, it’s not what we set out to do. One of the things we wanted to accomplish was to get in the playoffs. We’ve done that and now we’re trying to set our sights on the next goal – which is to win a playoff game and then the championship. There were bumps and bruises down the line, which every first-year organization is going to have. I think we’re in a good position to make this one a great one.”
For the team to reach their next goal, they will need to upset the juggernaut Soul, just like they did on July 8th. To knock off Philadelphia again, Gray highlights one word. “Details. We have to be disciplined and focus on details. Do our job. Be a family. We go out there and take the field together – we have to play together,” he asserts. Can the team really upset such a powerful opponent? Gray answers, “Most definitely. In my opinion, it’s an upset if you look at it record-wise, but you have to take it as just the next game that you’re supposed to win and that we’re better than them. That’s the approach that we have to take.”
After nearly a decade in the AFL, he will certainly want to make the most of his chances in this postseason. Will these be the final games in his illustrious career? “Retirement is always a possibility after the season. Take time, reevaluate my body and see how it feels. You never want to make a rushed decision,” Gray admitted. “It all depends on my body and the opportunities. But to say right now – I’m not looking to retire, I’m looking to play. I’m looking at T.T. (Toliver) and getting motivation. Not saying 40 is possible. I’m only 33 – but I’m looking to play until I can’t do it anymore and my body says no. Right now, my body says yes.” Reggie Gray and the Baltimore Brigade will be locked in and ready to shock the Arena Football League world on Saturday. You can watch the game live on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m. EST.