Broncos LB Shane Ray dropping fat, adding muscle

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray (56) against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Shane Ray (56) against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

Denver Broncos second-year edge rusher Shane Ray is getting his body ready to potentially be a starting player in the NFL. He’s added 8 pounds of muscle…

Denver Broncos edge rusher Shane Ray figures that if you want to be like Von Miller, you should probably be like Von Miller. Last offseason, Miller’s diet was something everyone wanted to talk about, because of how great he looked. It was a vast difference from what we’d seen in 2013, when Miller came back from suspension looking inflated, much bigger than he’d played at in years prior.

As a result of his added weight, Miller kept his power but lost some explosion and wasn’t as successful as he wanted to be. After a year that included a suspension, weight gain, and an ACL injury, Miller started taking more seriously the way he treated his body off the field.

He showed up for the 2015 offseason program looking absolutely ripped, and he felt better than he ever had.

Fast-forward a year to this year’s OTAs, where Von Miller is absent and Shane Ray is looking to lock down a ‘starting’ job on the other side of him so DeMarcus Ware can be on a pitch count this year. Ray looks considerably bigger than he did last year, but not in a bad way. He’s been working hard to add good weight, to get his body right, and to be prepared for a starting role moving forward.

“I think I put on almost eight pounds of muscle in this offseason,” Ray said on Wednesday. “I combined that with a really strict diet. One thing that I struggled with as a rookie was having my meals and eating properly. You can’t just treat it like it’s college and go eat fast food. Everybody heard Von say you can’t eat cheese sticks and put that kind of fuel in a Ferrari. The biggest thing for me was treating my body as such. This offseason I really harped on eating right and making sure I had the proper meals and the proper amount of calories. I think that goes with being a pro with recovery as well. I’ve really excelled in that aspect of being a pro and I think that the results that my body has received—my body fat is the lowest it’s ever been. As a player, I feel as big, fast and explosive as I’ve ever felt.”

Screenshot captured from feed on
Screenshot captured from feed on /

Ray was able to learn on the job in 2015 as a rookie, but it wasn’t nearly as successful a season as he had hoped. He came to Denver with an injury he was recovering from during his college days, and he injured his knee during the season which sort of split his rookie year in two.

Attribute that to whatever you will, but Ray decided to take matters into his own hands and get his body right. Some might be weary about the added weight Von Miller put on in 2013 and think Ray has just gone and done the same, but this isn’t a matter of him adding bulk.

Like Miller in 2015, Ray has added ‘good’ weight, lean muscle that allows him to keep his quickness and explosiveness while also increasing his strength.

“During the season my lowest was 10 percent but I was only 234 pounds. It really wasn’t going to cut it at my position. Now I’m 245 [pounds] with 10 percent [body fat]. I’ve put on more weight but kept my body fat at that level.”

The work ethic was never a question for Shane Ray, though there were off-field concerns coming into the league. The Broncos knew they got a player who would be an absolute steal on the field in the former SEC defensive MVP, and we should be able to see exactly what kind of improvements this translates to on the field sooner rather than later.

Ray had four sacks as a rookie, but came on with a pair of sacks near the end of the 2015 regular season and then two tackles with a forced fumble in the Broncos’ Super Bowl victory over Carolina.

Those kind of playmaking skills from the edge spot are what Denver is going to be expecting from Ray, and moving forward, he should pair with Von Miller to give Denver one of the best set of rushers in the NFL for years to come.