When he was on the Ravens' practice squad last season, running back Jonas Gray developed a good relationship with coach John Harbaugh as the two bonded over their Michigan ties and chili dogs.
Gray, who was born in Pontiac, Mich., before playing at Notre Dame, further endeared himself to his former coach and his teammates when his mother brought the Ravens food when they faced the Detroit Lions last year on Monday Night Football.
"She was great -- some Gold Star chili," Harbaugh said. "It may not have been Gold Star, but it was chili dogs from Greektown. Cheese, onions, beans -- the whole nine. I'll always appreciate that."
Harbaugh was smiling as he recalled the story. On Sunday night, he watched Gray, now with the New England Patriots, run through the Indianapolis Colts in the Patriots' 42-20 victory.
Gray, and not quarterbacks Tom Brady or Andrew Luck, was the undisputed star of the game with 199 rushing yards and a franchise-record four touchdowns on 38 carries. That performance made him the fifth back in the Super Bowl era to run for at least 150 yards and four touchdowns on the road.
Gray signed with the Ravens in September 2013, a couple days after the undrafted free agent was cut by the Miami Dolphins. The running back spent all last season on the Ravens' practice squad, but after his contract expired, he opted to sign a future/reserve contract with the Patriots rather than be on the Ravens' offseason roster.
"We were disappointed to lose Jonas last year when we lost him," Harbaugh said. "We really thought he had a lot of upside. He felt like that was an opportunity that he wanted to pursue and obviously it's paid off for him.