The pass-rusher, drafted at No. 23 out of Missouri in 2015, had a promising start in the NFL. He was part of the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, and he had his most productive season in Year 2, with eight sacks and 21 quarterback hits. But he suffered a left wrist injury during training camp in 2017 that led to four surgeries and helped derail his career. Ray played 19 games with the Broncos over his final two seasons, but they did not re-sign him at the end of his rookie deal.
“Mentally, physically not feeling like me. Feeling beaten up, feeling torn down by media, feeling, you know, just everything,” Ray said. “I felt like I wasn’t me anymore, and I had no value … and people that I thought were gonna help me through the process ended up fading away, and now it’s only me and my mom, and the other close people to me, believing in me.”
While his career went off track, Ray was living with stress and nervous breakdowns with his temper getting “out of control,” as he described it. He had to learn, with the help of counseling, not to worry about what others thought of him or their expectations.
Ray signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 but was cut before training camp.
“I don’t think I showed up how I should have showed up to the Ravens, honestly,” Ray said. “I was still dealing with my injury.”
He had 10 tryouts with other teams during the 2019 season, but none worked out.
“I think he was angry. He was angry about a situation. It showed up in his workout,” his agent, Joby Branion, said after talking to teams that worked out Ray. “It showed up in sort of the way he carried himself. When anybody asked anything about special teams, it pissed him off.”
His career hit a low point in 2020, with no team workouts. He then spent two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, rediscovering his love of…