Skip to main content

Catch A Ray

03/19/2013 03:12PM ● Published by Anonymous

story: Todd McBain

Ricky Ray Starts His 7th Season With The CFL's Edmonton Eskimos

Ricky Ray has been a Wolf and a Hornet, a 49er and a Jet, a Knight and an Eskimo. He spent time on a roster in the NFL and is a champion in the CFL. Born in Happy Camp and raised in Redding, the 29-year-old has traveled a whirlwind journey in football that has led him to Canada, where he is a star.

Now in his seventh season in the Canadian Football League, Ray has helped lead the Edmonton Eskimos to three Grey Cups (the CFL’s Super Bowl). He holds a number of the franchise’s quarterback career- and single-season records, passing Hall of Famer Warren Moon on most of those lists. He has been an All Star and the Grey Cup’s most valuable player. While he has achieved great feats, his career in football has been perplexing, confusing and rewarding.

“I guess that’s just life,” Ray says. “You go through a lot of ups and downs, and just react to opportunities that come your way. It has been an incredible adventure so far. I have always tried to work hard and be prepared for any situation that comes my way. None of it was planned; it was just hard work and a little bit of luck.”

His talents have been anchored by strong leadership, savvy instincts and acute vision. Accuracy has always been the 6-foot, 3-inch right-hander’s credo. At Shasta High School, the 1997 graduate was a pinpoint pitcher on the mound and a sharp-shooter on the court. He was also one of the Northern Section’s top quarterbacks on the gridiron. As a Wolf, however, he didn’t receive scholarship offers. They would come.

Prior to his junior year in high school, he broke his left tibia and fibula while attempting to turn a double play during a Colt League baseball game. “I don’t know how much that may have had an effect on my possibilities of getting a scholarship,” Ray says. “Sacramento State did recruit me out of high school, but didn’t offer me a scholarship. I guess the second time was a charm, because they eventually offered me one after Shasta College.”

Following his sophomore season with the Knights, he was named an All-American and the California Junior College Player of the Year. One of his most notable achievements was throwing 199 consecutive passes without an interception over the 1997 and ‘98 seasons. At Sac State, he became the Hornets’ all-time leader in completion percentage (.619). His accuracy trend continued last season, as he set a CFL record by completing 92 percent (23-for-25) of his passes in the final game of the season.

Ray’s journey through professional football was given a kick start by another Sac State alumnus, Greg Knapp, who was a coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Through Knapp’s connections, Ray was called to be an “extra arm” in the team’s 2001 training camp. He didn’t make the team’s final roster, but the opportunity opened doors for him He was soon invited to try out for the Fresno Frenzy of the Arena Football League 2, where his head coach was Rick Worman, a former CFL quarterback (and currently the Eskimos’ quarterbacks coach). “He said that if I did well, he would try to get me into the CFL,” Ray says. He played eight games for Fresno and did well enough to use Worman’s connections. “If it weren’t for him, who knows where I would have ended up?” Ray says. He arrived in the Great White North with an opportunity to be a third-string quarterback.

By the fifth week of the 2002 CFL season, he was the starting quarterback. Injuries to the first- and second-string signal callers landed Ray in the driver’s seat. He took control, and led the Esks to the 90th Grey Cup. He was the rookie who came out of nowhere to lead his storied franchise back to prominence. However, the Cup wasn’t theirs, as they lost to the Montreal Alouettes, 26-16. In the game, Ray threw for 324 yards. The next season, he led the Eskimos back to the Cup. This time the green and gold won, defeating the Alouettes, 34-22. He threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns.

Following a season with the New York Jets, Ray returned to Edmonton in 2005. It was a welcome return, as he again led the Esks to the title, winning the Grey Cup for the 13th time in franchise history.

After completing 35 of 45 passes, he was named the game’s MVP.

“Winning a championship at the professional level is a great feeling,” Ray says. “For that year, you and your team were the best, and they can never take that away from you. Each championship meant something different to me, because each year is different and you are always overcoming different obstacles.”

Over the past three seasons, Ray and the Eskimos have been contenders, but have not returned to the title game. Last season, they fell in the West finals. This season, they have a new head coach and have added some valuable free agents. It’s also the final season on Ray’s contract. While speculation may come up that he could again try his hand at the NFL, following the likes of Moon, Doug Flutie and Jeff Garcia, he has his own arguments against the move.

“I am very happy in the CFL, because I get the opportunity to play, which is better than sitting the bench somewhere,” Ray says. “The Canadian experience has been good, too. It’s not much different than (playing) in the U.S. – it’s just a little colder.” •

For more information about Ricky Ray and the Edmonton Eskimos, visit www.esks.com

In Print, Community profile
  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/22/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/23/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/22/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/23/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/24/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/24/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/26/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day I

    01/26/2018
    04:00PM — 08:30PM

    Redding Cultural Cruise is just around the corner, coming Friday, January 26! Participate in t...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    01/26/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cottonwood Community Library Book Sale

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 02:00PM

    A book sale to benefit the Cottonwood Community Library will be held on Friday, January 26 and Sa...


  • Redding Cultural Cruise - Day II

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 for Day II of Redding Cultural Cruise! Visit a number of Redding ven...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    01/27/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Sleeping Beauty

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM — 08:30AM

    RSA Theater Booster Club is a Non-Profit organization. It is our mission is to teach our middle ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Conductor and saxophonist Scott Seaton welcomes Terrie Baune (violin) and John Chernoff (piano) f...


  • North State Symphony

    01/28/2018
    02:00PM

    In this more intimate concert, Maestro Scott Seaton on his saxophone joins Concertmaster Terrie B...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/29/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/30/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    01/31/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    01/31/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • The Peking Acrobats

    01/31/2018
    07:30PM

    For the last 30 years The Peking Acrobats have inspired fans young and old as they defy gravity w...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/01/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Vinyl Night

    02/01/2018
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Vinyl Night! Join us downtown the first and third Thursday of every month. We are going to ditch ...


Enter to win!

 

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living

 

Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors