A relieved Shane Ray made a personal pledge to Denver Broncos general manager John Elway when Elway was on the phone telling the reigning Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year the Broncos were trading up to select him 23rd overall in Thursday’s draft.
Ray promised to reward Elway and the Broncos for giving him the second chance he worried might not come in the first round after he was cited by Missouri Highway Patrol for misdemeanor possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana when he was stopped for speeding Monday morning.
“He congratulated me and I could do nothing but thank him so much for the opportunity that he’s given me,” the former Missouri career sack leader said inside the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. “I told him that I was going to show him it was a great decision.
“I guaranteed Mr. Elway that I will not have any issues,” he said.
Ray also guaranteed to exact his revenge against the teams that passed on him after the Broncos traded this year’s fifth-round pick, next year’s fifth and guard Manny Ramirez to trade up with the Detroit Lions.
“This does nothing but add fuel to my fire,” Ray said. “I hope those teams understand that this is the kind of person I am.
“I will use this is as motivation. Oh yeah, those teams that passed on me, they’re all circled.”
Ray said the first round was “nerve wracking. The past 72 hours of my life have been really dark for me.
“I’m not a person who has character issues. It just took one team to pull the trigger and give me the chance.”
Ray, 21, insisted he made a mistake but that it’s not indicative of a chronic problem.
“Just because I was cited for marijuana possession doesn’t mean I’m this huge smoker or some huge drug addict,” Ray said. “If anybody looks at the police report, they’ll understand I wasn’t even under the influence. I haven’t had any marijuana issues in my career.
“That’s not a concern for me at all.”
He couldn’t believe the team that stopped his tumble was a defense already studded with fierce pass rushers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
“I can’t wait,” Ray said. “It’s a small setback for a great comeback. The defense that they run I feel I’m capable of bringing a whole other level of pass rush.
“They’re getting a ferocious pass rusher who can stop people in the running game and dropping into coverage is no issue. But more so when you want somebody to go get the quarterback to get the ball in Peyton Manning’s hands, I will be one of those guys you’ll hear his name called on Sundays.”
Ray said the sprained toe suffered early in Missouri’s January bowl game that caused some teams to back off won’t hold him back come training camp.
“Week 1, I will be ready,” Ray vowed.
SOURCE: USA Today – Jim Corbett