One of the toughest parts of being a die-hard college football fan is seeing players who once had bright futures being forced to give up football in their mid-twenties, but luckily for these two former Mizzou standouts, they get to continue living their football dreams up north and be teammates in the process.
The first of the two former Tigers joining the Toronto Argonauts is star defensive end Shane Ray. Ray was a Tiger from 2012-14 where he racked up 14.5 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss in a monster 2014 season that ended in a consensus All-American selection and the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year award. Shane was selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos, Shane would remain in Denver from 2015-18 where he collected 14 sacks and a Super Bowl championship with the Broncos. Outside of his 8 sack season in 2016, Shane never got a solid foothold in the NFL partially due to his battles with injuries. He signed one last NFL contract with the Ravens but he was released before he ever saw the field. Now Shane comes in as one of the most talented pass rushers in the CFL looking to return to the dominance he had at Mizzou.
After Kelly Bryant's grad transfer season with Missouri where he threw for 2215 yards and 15 touchdowns, he shockingly never got an NFL chance outside of a couple of workouts. Bryant had a disappointed latter half to his 2019 season at Mizzou but he was still pretty flashy before injuries and poor play derailed his lone season at Missouri. Now, Kelly B. is back in football joining the Toronto Argonauts where he looks to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league. It's worth mentioning he's walking into one of the best situations he could have been given the fact his star wide receiver Martavis Bryant is not only one of the most talented pass-catchers in the CFL, but also happens to be Bryant's cousin which bodes well for both having an instant connection on and off the field. Toronto has also had success with former Missouri quarterbacks, Mizzou standout James Franklin broke the single-season rushing touchdown record for the Argos a couple of seasons ago so the future should be bright for Bryant.
Shane and Kelly are both immensely talented players who just never got a fair shot in the NFL for one reason or another and I think I speak on behalf of all Mizzou fans when I say it's great to see them continue their professional careers. If you would like to watch Shane and Kelly continue their football careers the Argos first regular-season game is June 19, 2021 and will be aired on an ESPN affiliate network. Also, be sure to follow the Argonauts Twitter.