Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

May 14, 2013

Vols QB Tyler Bray getting shot with Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyler Bray believes that every rookie has something to prove.

He may have more than most.

The former Tennessee quarterback left school a year early hoping he'd be chosen highly in the draft, given the relatively weak collection of college signal-callers coming out this year. Instead, every team passed on him over the course of seven agonizing rounds.

Once the draft ended, his phone suddenly lit up with teams trying to sign him as a free agent, and Bray settled on joining new coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

"It's not your choice. I mean, you're not in the draft room picking,'' Bray said after a workout during the Chiefs' rookie minicamp, which wrapped up Sunday. "So you just wait around, and if you don't get drafted, you pick up the phone, try to find a team.

"I found a team here in Kansas City.''

One where he thinks he can thrive.

The Chiefs traded their second-round pick and a conditional choice in next year's draft to acquire Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers. They also signed Chase Daniel as a free agent, and still have former fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi on the roster.

But outside of Smith, their unquestioned starter, everything appears to be up in the air, and that means Bray - with all the physical tools - could have a shot at a backup job.

"He just needs to continue to improve. That's what he needs to do,'' said Reid, who earned a reputation as being a "quarterback whisperer'' during his days with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"He needs to learn the offense, handle it the right way and do the right things. He understands that,'' Reid said. "He knows the places he made mistakes at Tennessee.''

Ah, there's the rub.

Despite putting up the kind of numbers that get quarterbacks with big arms drafted - he threw for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior - Bray watched his stock dive amid questions about his maturity, work ethic and character.

When things would go poorly for the Vols, Bray's body language tended to sag. He admitted that he wasn't always the most prepared during interviews leading up to the draft, and a series of minor off-the-field incidents that included a vandalism charge gave teams reason to pause.

"I made a lot of mistakes at Tennessee, a lot of off-the-field issues,'' Bray confided, "and that had a lot to do with it.''

When asked about the specific incidents, Bray said he's moved beyond them: "They were just stupid mistakes,'' he added. "I'm here now, I'm a free agent and that's OK with me.''

One thing that was never questioned much was Bray's physical attributes.

He stands out in a yellow No. 9 jersey at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, and over the course of three days at the Chiefs' practice facility, he showcased that strong arm on a series of deep throws that caught the attention of his fellow rookies and members of the front office.

Even though he left Tennessee with a year of eligibility remaining, Bray still set a school record for most 400-yard passing games (400) and once threw for 530 yards in a game against Troy, the second-best performance in the history of the Southeastern Conference.

Still, the learning curve in the NFL is a steep one.

For one thing, Bray mostly used hand signals and ran a no-huddle offense with the Vols, so rounding up his teammates and relaying plays in the huddle feels a bit strange. The playbook is new, and he hasn't really had to start making checks and adjustments at the line of scrimmage yet - those things will happen down the road, provided the Chiefs keep him around.

Then there's the speed of things in the NFL, and not just on the field. Meetings go quicker, practices move at a faster tempo, and sometimes it's a challenge just to keep up.

"Everything is a little more difficult, a little more hurried than I was used to,'' Bray said. "I could tell by the first couple snaps that this was way different.''

The Chiefs move from rookie minicamp right into organized team activities, and Tuesday will be the first chance for Bray to practice with Smith and the rest of the Chiefs' veterans.

"Every rookie in the draft is going to have to prove something,'' Bray said. "I mean, most of us weren't going to come in and start. So I'm just going to come in, battle, try to learn from Alex - he's a veteran quarterback, and I can learn a lot from him.''

Does he have any regrets about leaving school early?

"I'm here now,'' Bray said. "Just trying to move forward.''



 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0016web.jpg District Champions!

    District champions ... Enough said!
    Claremore freshman forward Olivia Maulsby converted a game-winning header with 1:22 remaining to lead the No. 4-ranked Lady Zebras past No. 5 Skiatook, 2-1 Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference play at Lantow Field.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • DSC_0433web.jpg SOCCER: Bulldogs spoil ‘Senior Night’ for Zebras

    Claremore senior goalkeeper Sam Lillie made the most of his first and last varsity start Tuesday night against Skiatook on Senior Night at Lantow Field.
    For 40 minutes, Lillie was flawless in the goal, allowing only one goal and making several tenacious stops against the fiery Bulldogs.
    The second-half, however, told a different story as No. 3 Skiatook scored four goals and enjoyed a 5-0 win over the No. 15 Zebras.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Berryhill’s White strikes out 17, tosses no-hitter over No. 1 Verdigris

    Top-ranked Class 3A Verdigris got White-washed by 4A No.3 Berryhill on Tuesday night.
    In a battle of 2013 state champions, Chiefs’ ace Nick White — a future Oklahoma State pitcher —  fired a no-hitter with 17 strikeouts, igniting a 5-0 victory over the Cardinals.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stilwell’s Lea signs with RSU men's basketball

    Rogers State University men's basketball head coach Justin Barkley announced the addition of standout center Matt Lea for the 2014-15 season.

    April 23, 2014

  • HANSLOVANweb.jpg SOCCER: No. 2 Lady Cards roll past Oologah

    Verdigris senior forward Caitlyn Hanslovan tallied another ‘hat trick’ in her illustrious Lady Cardinals soccer career Tuesday night at Oologah.
    The three goals by Hanslovan soared the second-ranked Lady Cardinals past Oologah, 5-0 in non-conference play at Mustangs Stadium.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 5 Claremore HS tennis players earn all-conference

    The Claremore High School boys and girls varsity tennis programs had five players receive Metro Lakes all-conference recognition.

    April 23, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: Horner's RBI-single lifts No. 15 Tulsa past OSU, 1-0

    Catherine Horner's RBI single in the sixth inning and Aimee Creger's three-hit shutout gave No. 15 University of Tulsa (42-5) a 1-0 win over Oklahoma State (24-21) at Cowgirl Stadium on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • ORU's Romano named to NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list

    Oral Roberts University junior reliever Jordan Romano has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year mid-season watch list, the organization announced on Wednesday.

    April 24, 2014

  • SOFTBALL: OU's Stevens tosses one-hitter past North Texas

    Sophomore Kelsey Stevens was just three outs away from her first no-hitter as a Sooner, but a one-hitter was still a fine consolation prize as No. 17/12 Oklahoma shut out North Texas, 3-0, on Wednesday night.

    April 24, 2014

  • OSU women's basketball adds JUCO duo

    Oklahoma State's women's basketball team has signed a pair of junior college players it was announced today by Cowgirl head coach Jim Littell.

    Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College's Roddricka Patton and Rylie Swanson, a product of Northern Oklahoma College-Enid, both signed National Letters of Intent and will join the OSU program for the upcoming season.

    April 24, 2014

AP Video