The end of Frito Ray in E-town
CFL Insider is back for an important post
I hoped that this day would not come…Ricky Ray traded to the Toronto Argonauts today.
I found out about this deal today after an exam from one of my teachers, I thought it was a prank being pulled on me until went on TSN.ca to confirm it. Esks fans in generations past have had deals that have absolutely shocked them, in 1962 it was Jackie Parker going to Toronto, in 1993 it was Tracy Ham being delt to Toronto (starting to notice a trend here?) in one of the largest trades in CFL history and now my generation will always remember when Ricky Ray was traded to the Toronto Argonauts for Steven Jyles, Grant Shaw and a 1st round pick in the 2012 entry draft.
I remember when Ricky came to the Esks from AF2, as a third stringer and shocked us all taking the starting job from Jason Maas. That 2002 season was some kind of incredible as the kid from Sacramento State took the league by storm (24TDs and just 9INTs) to take the Esks to the Grey Cup for the first time since 1996, but lost to Montreal 25-16. 2003 was the redemption year as the Esks beat the Alouettes in Regina to get the club its first Grey Cup win in a decade and the legend of Ricky Ray was starting to grow and then…
2004 saw Ricky head south to try and test the waters in the NFL with the New York Jets, I hoped that it would turn into another Warren Moon story with him having an insane amount of success but it was not meant to be he spent the year with the clipboard basically sewn to his hand as even with Chad Pennington injured, Quincy Carter was the undisputed starter. With the NFL not working out with Ricky he came back to the city of Champions and thanks help from Jason Maas in the 2005 season the club got another title but it would be the last year for a while that the club would have the “Eskimo way” working for them. Many of us know that 2006-2010 were not the best for the club as Ricky took more beatings in the pocket than a sack of apples falling from the top of the CN Tower but he was still the undisputed #1 QB for the club.
In 2009 I was able to get a media pass for the very first time for the Edmonton Eskimos and Ricky was one of the first players that I had the pleasure of interviewing, a polite and calm guy who always had a quote for me I appreciated his play and demeanor. As a young reporter in awe of player that I had watched for years to have the chance to interview him as an Eskimo was a blast even when things didn’t go right (ex: camera sliding down tripod which I set up myself mid interview) Ricky stuck with it and gave me fantastic material for my show and reports. When fans ragged on Ricky he played every week and we did not hear complaints or trade demands, which many other players be in football or Hockey have wanted when playing in Edmonton.
So to hear about this trade was just shocking. To look on the positive side of things many folks can say that this does clear up cap space for the Eskimos and will give a chance for guys like Eric Ward and Matt Nichols to grow as Qbs inEdmontonbut Stephen Jyles and Kerry Joseph? If Joseph does return to the team I can’t imagine anything being long term and Stephen Jyles (career high 19TD passes in 6 CFL seasons) was already with the club and prior seasons his performance has not been that of a starting Quarterback. Not sure about Grant Shaw as Derek Schiavone and Damon Duval have jobs cemented with the Green and Gold so to me this truly is a deal that makes me ask, Why Eric Tillman why? Without a solid #1 Qb that can get the job done why make this deal?
The Argonauts are now a much better team as the connection of Ricky Ray to Chad Owens and Jermaine Copeland will make Toronto a real threat in the East when the season kicks off in summer 2012. To end I will say this, good luck Ricky hopefully you do turn Toronto around, but it’s going to take time getting used to walking into the visitors locker room at Commonwealth after games and seeing you in double blue.
That’s all for now I’m Avry and I’m out!