KC mom travels to watch son play in Super Bowl

Posted at 9:37 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-07 10:54:21-05

While it’s tough to fathom a large section of Kansas City cheering on the Broncos, there will be without question a substantial group cheering on one of their linebackers Sunday during Super Bowl 50.

Denver Broncos rookie linebacker Shane Ray will be helping the Broncos compete for the Super Bowl title against the Panthers. But the Kansas City native hasn’t forgotten about his home town and he’s aware of who he is representing. 

"He's proud that he's a kid from Kansas City. He can be looked upon as a guy who came from the urban core, who was able to make something of himself and was able to follow his dreams,” said Ray’s mother, Sebrina Johnson, during a phone interview Saturday night.

Ray grew up in one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods, KCMO’s 64130 or “The Murder Factory,” before becoming a star at Mizzou.

The 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year certainly went through some turmoil last year, not only battling through injuries and getting ejected from a game against Alabama, but was cited for marijuana just days before the NFL Draft last spring.

The Broncos still drafted Ray late in the first round. That pick is proving to pay off – the 22 year old has four sacks this year, playing only part-time.

Johnson is proud of the man her son has become.

"Everything that has occurred, and he's just handled it with just such grace and respect and really showed that he's a man. I'm just really proud of the man he's become."

Tim Grunhard, Ray’s former high school coach and former Chiefs offensive lineman, said he will be rooting for the Panthers on Sunday.

However, he is incredibly happy to see his former star athlete in the Super Bowl.

"Well, first of all I'm jealous -- I'm just gonna tell ya that right now. One year in the NFL, he goes to the Super Bowl, and I was in 11 years, never went??,” the coach joked.