The Broncos took to the field to begin OTAs with the season just a few months away. Here are shots from Wednesday's action. (All photos by DenverBroncos.com digital staff)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – When the Broncos hit the practice fields for the first day of organized team activities on Wednesday, one notable rookie was missing from the head-to-head action.
After suffering a toe injury in his collegiate finale, Denver's first round pick linebacker Shane Ray watched from the sideline as his team shook off the dust in the first offense versus defense drills of the offseason during OTAs.
"For me being a competitor, it was frustrating, of course, but I need to take the right time," said Ray. "But the issue was I never got the proper chance to rehab and get my body right and there's no point in rushing and injuring myself more. So I'm going to keep taking the steps I need to take and when they feel like it's the right time for me to come out here and practice and do what I need to do, I'll be ready."
Denver's newly-appointed Head Coach Gary Kubiak echoed Ray's sentiments on his recovery, insisting that rehabbing Ray's injury the right way takes precedence over his eagerness to return to the field.
"He's feeling good," said Kubiak. "We fitted him for some orthotics, he's done some work, he's in a lot of treatment, which he wants out of that and wants on the field, but we're going to go about this slowly and go about this the right way. But I think you'll see him doing individual next week."
Although watching practice from the sidelines frustrates Ray, the break has afforded him more time to study film. The opportunity to visually learn the ins-and-out of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme has helped Ray take mental reps even when he isn't physically on the field.
"It's very valuable for me," said Ray. "I mean, I'm in the film room with my coach as much as I can be. I'm asking questions to Von [Miller] and DeMarcus [Ware] everyday about what's going on, what they're doing, what they're seeing, what they're feeling. [I'm] doing my own studying. I'm getting just as much work as if I was out there doing the physical."
While his injury may have altered how he imagined his first rookie offseason to look like, Ray still feels excited about what is around the corner.
"When you come into this locker room and you're sitting around all these other pros, it just hits you," said Ray. "I'm excited for my career and what I'm getting ready to do."