Just days before the start of the NFL Draft, highly touted Missouri Tigers defensive end Shane Ray was cited for pot possession after his car was pulled over by a state trooper on Monday. Ray was stopped for allegedly speeding down an interstate in Columbia, home to the University of Missouri, where Ray was named the SEC defensive player of the year in 2014 by the Associated Press.
Corporal Scott White of the Missouri Highway Patrol confirmed Ray was given a summons to appear in Cooper County court on June 30 after a trooper confiscated a “personal amount” of cannabis from a compartment in Ray’s car upon smelling fresh bud in the vehicle. According to ESPN, Ray was cited for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana—a misdemeanor—as well as a traffic violation. White noted that Ray was cooperative with the trooper and exhibited no signs of intoxication. He was allowed to drive away from the scene.
Ray was projected to be a first round draft pick because he offers the versatility of either being a lineman or an outside linebacker, but this week’s pot bust could cause the 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive star to plummet in the draft, the first round of which will be held Thursday in Chicago. ESPN’s Adam Schefter opined the pot bust will likely drop Ray to the bottom of the first round and perhaps even the second round on Friday, which could literally cost Ray millions of dollars in his rookie contract. Most mock NFL drafts released this week still prognosticate Ray going in the first round, being chosen anywhere from #6 (New York Jets) to #32 (New England Patriots), the last pick of the opening round.
On Monday night, Ray released a statement apologizing to his mother and prospective NFL teams for his “poor judgment”, and he was automatically enrolled in Phase 1 of the NFL’s substance abuse program. Due to his only being cited for possession and not use, Ray avoids league discipline but will still face random drug tests.