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Ray’s comeback hits snag as Bills put DE on IR

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After making it back to an NFL roster following four years away from the league, defensive end Shane Ray’s journey has hit another bump in the road.

On Monday, the Buffalo Bills placed Ray on injury reserve. The move could end his season unless an injury settlement is reached. Coach Sean McDermott described him as “day-to-day” Sunday.

“It’s just one of those things that you gotta get healthy and, you know, that’s the main part for him to get healthy, man,” Von Miller told ESPN of his close friend and former Denver Broncos teammate at a Monday charity event. “I’m sorry, he got hurt. I’m injured now [recovering from surgery on right ACL], so I already know what he’s dealing with. He’s staying here at my crib at the house, so that’s a good thing, too, where I can put my hands on him and keep my eyes on him, man, and, you know, I think he’s shown what he can do on the football field and, you know, whenever he gets that chance to go out there and play, that’d be great.”

Ray left Saturday’s preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a hamstring injury after playing 12 total snaps. After the game, he was visibly emotional in the locker room and was comforted by multiple teammates, including center Mitch Morse. In two preseason games, Ray played 32 defensive snaps, nine special teams snaps and one 2-point conversion. Ray, 30, was a long shot to make a competitive Bills 53-man roster but played well throughout training camp and the preseason.

“I know I still have a lot of good football left in me, and I just want to maximize that so that I can, no matter how this ends, I can go back and be like, ‘I gave it everything that I had under the circumstances, under the situation, I gave it everything I got and I can live with that,'” Ray said in May of continuing his football journey.

The 2015 first-round draft pick by the Denver Broncos signed with the Bills after a successful rookie minicamp tryout. Ray was on the Broncos team that won Super Bowl 50, playing four years in Denver (2015-2018), all of them with Miller. He had his most productive season in his second year with eight sacks and 21 quarterback hits, but he suffered a left wrist injury during training camp in 2017 that led to four surgeries. Ray played 19 games with the Broncos over his final two seasons, but they did not re-sign him at the end of his rookie deal.

After some time away, in part due to COVID-19, he played two seasons for the Toronto Argonauts (2021-22), dealing with more injuries as well.

“I had to humble myself — more humbled than I could ever been before,” Ray said about his time in the CFL. “From going to Canada and buying in, you know — I can’t act like there was days that I didn’t walk in, and I was like, ‘Bro, this is where I am? Like, I’m not supposed to be here.’ But that’s where I was, and I had to grind through it.”

The Bills also placed tackle Tommy Doyle on injured reserve. McDermott said Doyle would be out for the season after he was carted off the field in Saturday’s game. The team also signed running back Ty Johnson and tackle Garrett McGhin on Monday.

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