A first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2015 out of the University of Missouri, Ray brings a total of 14 career sacks during his 41 games (15 starts) of NFL experience.
“I have high expectations for Shane competing at defensive end and seeing significant playing time,” Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddie told Sports Illustrated. “I think our league fits his skill-set better than the NFL. With the one-yard off-ball rule, it helps pass-rushers and that is his best attribute, being able to get after the quarterback.”
It was a roller-coaster stint for Ray during his five seasons in the NFL, enjoying immediate success as a rookie and causing a crucial fumble in Super Bowl 50, as the Broncos would go on to win their third Lombardi Trophy. For an encore, Ray would start eight games the following season, registering eight sacks and scoring his first touchdown on a fumble recovery scoop.
However, injuries would slow down the pass-rush specialist, as Ray would suffer torn ligaments in his wrist during the 2017 season, which would eventually lead to four wrist surgeries within the span of a year. With that news, the Broncos declined to pick up his fifth-year option. After a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens, Ray found himself unsigned and out of opportunity.
That was, until he received a phone call from his agent informing him of ‘The HUB’ free-agent workout being conducted for pro teams by NFL power agent Don Yee. Ray decided to attend, realizing that in order to prove he was still in shape and back to 100%, he would need to work out in front of scouts. The Kansas City native would flash glimpses of his old self on that sunny San Diego day back in November, while showing no signs of any restriction on the wrist and plenty of gas left in the motor.
After a couple of months of NFL inquiries but nothing imminent on the horizon, Ray has now opted to take his talents north of the border to Toronto, for the next challenge of his career. “He’s physical enough to set the edge in the run game,’ echoed Dinwiddie. “But I look forward to him showing his pass-rushing abilities.” Make no mistake about it, this is just the beginning of his comeback story, as Ray looks to rewrite the script of a once-promising, interrupted career.
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