The date of July 26, 2002, is a very memorable one for Edmonton Eskimos fans. On this night, Ricky Ray made his first CFL start as he quarterbacked the Eskimos to a 37-27 win over the British Columbia Lions. I was in the Molson Suite at Commonwealth Stadium, and even though I was suffering from tracheitis, I was watching greatness at the very beginning. Ray was stellar that night against the Lions as he threw for four touchdowns.
Over nine seasons in Edmonton, Ray put together an amazing resume. From 2002-2003 and again from 2005-2011, the native of Happy Camp, California became the Eskimos all-time leader in career completions (3225), passing yards (40 531), and passing touchdowns (210). When the Eskimos traded Ray to the Toronto Argonauts for Steven Jyles, Grant Shaw and a first round draft pick in the 2012 CFL Draft on December 12, 2011, there were expectations that Ray would show just the same amount of greatness in Toronto that he did in Edmonton.
Unfortunately injuries over the last few years have taken its toll on Ray. He did win a Grey Cup for Toronto in 2012, (after winning two Grey Cups with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2003 and 2005), but injuries to his shoulder, rotator cuff, MCL and lung, have been just as much of a story in analyzing Ray’s career in recent times than his exceptional performances on the field.
However when Ray plays, he still performs at a high level at age 37. On Saturday, Ray was stellar as he completed 35 of 43 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-6 Argonauts win over the Montreal Alouettes. Ray also set an Argonauts record in touchdown passes (99) and became the first quarterback to lead two different teams in touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Eskimos picked up defensive end John Chick from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Monday. The trade was necessary for Edmonton because of all the injuries they have had in 2017. One of the recent injuries was Marcus Howard, who is out for the year with a ruptured left Achilles.