Rest pays dividends as Shane Ray is '100 percent' for Broncos training camp

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Turns out Denver Broncos defensive end Shane Ray had a good read on his own health.

Ray, who suffered what he called a "variation of turf toe" in his final game at Missouri last season, consistently said in the weeks following the draft and into the Broncos' offseason program he would be ready for training camp.

And with the Broncos' rookies having arrived to the team's suburban Denver complex already this week and the team's veteran players set to formally report for camp Thursday, Ray said he's full-go when the Broncos take the practice field Friday for their first full training camp practice.

"I'm 100 percent ... all drills, 100 percent," Ray said this week.

Ray had taken part only sparingly in the Broncos' offseason work because of the injury, something the Broncos both expected and enforced after they traded up five spots in the first round of the draft to select Ray at No. 23. The Broncos felt Ray did too much in the pre-draft build-up to fully let the injury heal.

Ray did not participate in workouts at the scouting combine, but he continued to prepare for his pro day and was limited some in his on-campus workout. So much so some scouts wondered before the draft if the injury was going to be an issue.

That, combined with a citation for marijuana possession just days before the draft, resulted in Ray's draft slide -- the Broncos had Ray as their No. 10 player on the draft board. The Broncos then held Ray out of the on-field work in the team's minicamp and eased him into the rest of the organized team activities and minicamps, though he did not participate in a full workout.

"We just felt like rest was something he needed, treatment and rest," said Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. "He just needed to get himself back right and our staff did a great job with that."

"The issue was that I didn't have any time to rest during the pre-draft process and get the proper treatment," Ray said. "As soon as I got here, I got the things that I needed, the treatment that I needed ... and my recovery happened like it was supposed to. Now it is not an issue."

The Broncos have also given Ray orthotics to wear in his shoe during practices and games.

"I'm very excited. I think that there are a lot of questions that people have on what I can do and what I was brought here to do. This is an opportunity for me to show everybody what I'm capable of."

The Broncos have plenty of optimism for the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year -- he finished the 2014 season with 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has said he will devise ways to get Ray on the field with linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware in some pass-rush situations.

Ray will work as Ware's backup much of the time on the weak-side of the formation. Miller said despite Ray's limited work in the offseason program, he saw enough of the rookie's potential that "I told him he's not a rookie in my eyes when camp gets here ... and me and DeMarcus aren't going to treat him like one."

Ray is expected to work at least some in practices at Miller's strong-side spot as well -- he did the classroom work for both outside spots in the offseason program. Miller is expected to play more snaps overall so more of Ray's potential playing time could come in some kind of rotation with Ware if the three aren't in the formation together.

"I feel like they have really high expectations. They told me, 'You didn't come here to ride the bench. You came here help this team.' With that being said, every day that I come here I'm trying to get better and trying to be the best that I can be so that I can help this team accomplish its goal, which is a Super Bowl."