It was the worst of times. It was the best of times. That's not a quote from a book, it is an accurate description of Shane Ray's week.
The University of Missouri and Bishop Miege alum spent his draft week like this:
Sunday, make in-studio appearances on ESPN shows.
Monday, get arrested outside Columbia, MO, for possession of marijuana.
Tuesday and Wednesday, live his life as the focus of national ridicule.
Thursday, get drafted by the Denver Broncos with the 23rd pick of the first round of the NFL Draft.
What a week!
Ray spoke with KCTV5 Sports Director Michael Coleman about the ordeal, and his decision to face the issue head-on. "As tough as it was, because I'm not going to say by any means that it was easy, to face all of those things and be under that kind of scrutiny. But you know, I'm glad that I did that. And I feel like that was a key factor in teams still deciding to believe in me and me becoming a Denver Bronco."
Seeing her son go through the lowest of lows was hard on his mom.
"To watch as a parent," Sabrina Johnson told KCTV5, "you don't want to see your children hurt."
Ray's talents have turned heads since he starred for head coach and mentor, Tim Grunhard at Miege High School, but the SEC Defensive Player of the Year has been struggling with an off-season foot injury and then was forced to deal with the questions of character.
"Of course in dark times like that, the easy thing to do is run and hide from the cameras," Ray told Coleman. "It's easy just to go in your room and close the door. The hard thing is to be a man about it, face it, accept what you did, admit you made a mistake and grow from it."
His approach paid off big, as Denver traded up to the 23rd pick in order to draft Ray.
"Oh, there were so many emotions," he says. "There was the joy and happiness of Denver giving me the chance to come into such a great club and possibly be in the playoffs."
Ray needs football. It is his ticket out of a rough Kansas City neighborhood, his lifeline to a better life for both Shane and his mom.
The same toughness that has allowed him to play through pain, allowed Ray to make through the embarrassment of his arrest.
He is determined to succeed.
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