When it comes to answering questions, former University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray is all too familiar, and most of the time, they do not pertain to his accomplishments on the football field.
Bray declared for the 2013 NFL Draft after his junior season, when he completed 268 of 451 attempts (59.4 percent) for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. However, it is what he did on a July night in 2012 that brings about the questions.
Bray, who was accused of vandalism for throwing golf balls and beer bottles out of his apartment and onto cars, said he has used the pre-draft process to meet with teams, discuss “how I plan to move forward,” and prove that he has grown up.
“I’ve had a lot of questions about the immaturity and all the off-the-field decision-making,” Bray said at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. “I just want to move past that and get to the on-the-field stuff. I did it to myself. If I never was a part of it, I never would’ve had to answer for it. I’m just trying to move forward. I’m here to win ballgames.
“I’m sure it’s going to affect (my draft status) a little bit. I’m not worried about that. I came here to show that I’ve grown up from that and learned from my mistakes. I’m here to win football games and just have fun, try to compete with the best quarterbacks.”
Since the end of football season, Bray has been working out with Bill Cunerty at API, Athletes’ Performance Institute, in Carson, California. Part of preparing for an NFL career involves working out plans for the increased free-time, access and money that comes with playing professional football.
“I think I’m ready,” Bray said. “Coach Cunerty and I have been working on all of this, how to manage time. Agents always talk about it. The X’s and O’s, that’s the biggest struggle I had in the past, so that’s the thing I’ve focused on. I’ve got it down.”
Bray completed 540 passes for 7,444 yards and 69 touchdowns against 28 interceptions in his college career, largely against Southeastern Conference competition, including University of Alabama All-American cornerback, Dee Milliner. That is something Bray feels will benefit him in the NFL.
“A lot of the top guys in this draft are from the SEC,” Bray said. “Dee Milliner, I faced him and all those big draft prospects. I don’t feel it’s going to be a big jump going into the NFL.”
Despite his production at Tennessee, Bray also faced questions about his leadership abilities. He used his junior season to develop as a leader of a group of men, something that will be required when he enters the NFL.
“I always tried to be a leader and set an example on the field,” Bray said. “Toward my junior season, I worked on it, got in a few guys’ faces if I needed to, which I had never done before. I’ve tried to improve on that.”