After DeMarcus Ware’s retirement, all eyes turned to Shane Ray as the replacement opposite superstar Von Miller.
Those plans will be put on temporary hold, though, after Ray tore a ligament in his wrist Friday that will require surgery. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport was the first to report the news:
#Broncos coach Vance Joseph said pass-rusher Shane Ray will have surgery tomorrow after tearing a ligament in his wrist. Out 6-8 weeks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 28, 2017
This is a big blow for the 2015 Super Bowl champions. A first-round pick in 2015, Ray showed considerable progress from his rookie year to his second year, doubling his sack total from four to eight. He also more than doubled his tackle total from 15 two years ago to 33 last year. With Ware in retirement, Ray was expected to step right in as the next player to terrorize opposing quarterbacks.
What was a major position of strength last year now becomes a significant question mark with the Broncos’ opener just over six weeks away. There are only two other outside linebackers with significant NFL experience on the roster. One is Shaquil Barrett, and he’s set to miss all of training camp if not more due to a hip injury. The other is Kasim Edebali, who has played in 48 career games but has just two starts and 36 tackles to his name. All other outside linebackers on the roster are undrafted rookies, making Denver a candidate to add a body or two at the position before the season starts.
Denver’s season kicks off on Sept. 11 on “Monday Night Football” against the Chargers.