Rattlers Bolster Defense with Veteran DBs

Gray earned All-Arena honors with the Rattlers in 2011.

Feb. 28, 2013

Arizona Rattlers Press Release

MESA, Ariz. – The Arizona Rattlers have reinforced what is an already strong defense with the assignment of defensive backs Virgil Gray and Da’Mon Merkerson. Gray is under a one-year contract, while Merkerson was assigned on a two-year agreement.

Gray (5-10, 195, Rhode Island) played in 15 regular season games for the Rattlers last season, recording 25 kickoff returns for 514 yards and one touchdown. He tallied six interceptions for 50 yards and added one field goal return of 48 yards. In three playoff games, he had one interception and one kickoff return totaling 25 yards.

In 2011, Gray’s interception total (10) and pass breakups (28) placed him as the Rattlers single-season leader in both categories. As a return specialist, Gray’s 62 returns for 1,445 yards and five touchdowns ranked him as the top AFL return specialist by average in the 2011 regular season and his return yardage total placed him second in Rattlers single-season history.

Before joining the Rattlers, Gray spent time in the AFL with the Milwaukee Iron and Spokane Shock, as well as the af2’s Lubbock Renegades.

Merkerson (6-1, 190, Syracuse) came to the Rattlers as a rookie last season, playing in just two games before being sidelined by a season-ending injury. In his two games, Merkerson recorded nine tackles and one interception.

During his career at Syracuse, Merkerson appeared in 46 games, collecting 59 tackles, two interceptions and four tackles for loss. He also posted 14 receptions for 196 yards and two TDs on offense. He spent time in training camp with the Arizona Cardinals in 2011.