Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Quarterback Ricky Ray Says He's Happy Being with the Toronto Argonauts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Veteran Quarterback Ricky Ray Says He's Happy Being with the Toronto Argonauts

Article excerpt

Rays says he's happy being with Argos


MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Eric Tillman might be having second thoughts, but Ricky Ray isn't anymore.

The veteran quarterback says he's settled nicely into his new life with the Toronto Argonauts, seven months after Tillman's stunning decision to send Ray east after nine seasons in Edmonton. Earlier this week, the Eskimos general manager told an Edmonton radio station if he had it all over to do again he probably wouldn't make the trade.

That sentiment is of little solace to Ray.

"Yeah, I've been over that for a while.,'' Ray said with a chuckle following practice Thursday. "You know, it's football.

"I was lucky to play in one place for so long. The trade happened and, yeah, I was a little shocked and upset in the beginning but throughout the off-season I was definitely really excited to come here and work with (Argos rookie head coach) Scott Milanovich. The trade was done and I'm happy to be here in Toronto. This is a great spot for me.''

Tillman has come under heavy criticism in Alberta since trading Ray -- one of the most accurate and purest passers in CFL history -- in December for journeyman quarterback Steven Jyles, kicker Grant Shaw and the No. 2 selection in the 2012 CFL draft. Not only did Ray lead Edmonton to a pair of Grey Cup titles during his time there, he was also a huge fan favourite.

What's more, at age 32 Ray is still in his prime and should have many years of solid production left considering Montreal's Anthony Calvillo -- another outstanding pure passer -- is still going strong at age 39.

Ray led Edmonton to an 11-5 record and first-place with B.C. and Calgary in the West Division in 2011. He finished the season third overall in passing with 4,594 yards -- the sixth time in nine seasons he has surpassed the 4,500-yard plateau -- while completing 65.2 per cent of his passes. Ray also threw 24 touchdown passes against just 11 interceptions.

Jyles and the Eskimos beat Ray and the Argos 19-15 at Commonwealth Stadium in the season opener for both teams. Ray finished 29-of-39 passing in his return to Edmonton for 298 yards and a TD while Jyles finished 21-of-36 for 236 yards and an interception. …

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