CHICAGO -- Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray paid a price for the citation he received earlier this week for marijuana possession, slipping to the Denver Broncos at the No. 23 overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday.
Now he's out to make sure the teams that passed on him pay a price of their own.
"With the incident that happened Monday," Ray said, referring to the citation, "nothing was guaranteed for my future, and I didn't know where I was going to end up. I was hoping some teams showing interest in me would still give me the chance, but a lot of those teams passed on me. The Broncos decided to give me that opportunity, so with the Broncos, I'm going to show those other teams that they made a huge mistake.
"This does nothing but add fuel to the fire, and I hope those teams understand that's the kind of person I am," he said. "I will use this as motivation, and I hope that I do see every one of those teams twice a year. They're all circled. Best believe -- mentally, each team that passed on me is circled."
Ray was thought to be a potential top-10 pick. The Atlanta Falcons picked Clemson pass rusher Vic Beasley with the No. 8 pick, and Kentucky pass rusher Bud Dupree went one pick ahead of Ray to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ray didn't call out the teams that shied away from him by name, but he made no secret that he's got them squarely identified.
Ray also said Thursday after the draft that the citation for marijuana possession isn't indicative of his character.
"What I want people to understand is that one mistake doesn't define all the good I've done," he said. "It doesn't define who I am as a person at all. I've learned from my mistake, and I owned my mistake. I came here to Chicago when I could've ran. And I didn't. I faced it as a man, and the Broncos gave me an opportunity."
Ray deserves a measure of credit for keeping his commitment to come to Chicago and face questions about the marijuana citation, although his indignant reaction toward the teams that passed on him is short on logic. Given the NFL's substance abuse program can result in suspensions, it's perfectly understandable that some teams went in a different direction with their first-round pick.
Ray can't be faulted for using whatever source of motivation keeps him focused, but even he should realize NFL clubs also can't be faulted for drafting in their best interests over Ray's.