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Shane Ray participates in Monday OTA practice

Posted Jun 1, 2015

Shane Ray got a taste of an NFL football practice on Monday, starting off his second week of OTAs with a return to the field as he rehabs a foot injury.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After spending Organized Team Activity practices last week watching from the sideline taking mental reps, Shane Ray joined his teammates for the start of the second week of OTAs on Monday.

Ray, the Broncos' first-round draft pick, found the experience frustrating but necessary. Despite being unable to participate physically, he found plenty of value in upping his studying in the place of on-field work, peppering coaches and teammates with questions to gain a better understanding of the defense.

But in about six days' time, the training staff felt that he made good progress and cleared him for some limited participation in drills and he expects to be even more active as the offseason program continues.

"They [the training staff] didn’t want to rush me back and cause more injury," Ray said following Monday's practice. "They wanted to make sure that when I started getting work that my foot was feeling good and it wasn’t going to have any setbacks. We’ve got plenty of time so today what I was able to do was just pretty much they kind of let me go a little bit, let me get some work in because they felt like I was progressing well and throughout the week I’ll be doing more work."

It was a pleasing return for Ray following the frustrating move from outside linebacker to outside spectator.

"I hate watching, so being out there and actually being able to get some work in feels great and I just want to continue get better, do whatever rehab I’ve got to continue to do to make sure my foot continues to heal and I don’t take any steps back and then I’ll be ready to be out here on this field," he added.

As much as he hates watching, he gained some experience from the sidelines, however.

"Every day you need to watch and know what you need to do," Ray said of what value there was to glean without being on the field. "You need to learn. I’m taking lessons from DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller every day, watching formations, watching our plays, knowing what I’ll have to do when I get into the mix. That’s important, instead of just being out here and wasting reps."

From here, it'll be up to the training staff to determine what steps Ray can comfortably take, and he'll certainly be ready for them.