The New York Jets are suddenly stuck with major quarterback problems -- but Ricky Ray isn't bitter.
The Edmonton Eskimo starting pivot spent the entire 2004 campaign with the Jets, dressing for five games, including two playoff tilts.
However, he never had a chance to take a live snap in the regular season playing behind starter Chad Pennington and backup Quincy Carter.
Ray left New York in the off-season, not wanting to compete with Brooks Bollinger for the third-string job.
But in just the third week of the 2005 NFL season, the Jets will have to go three deep on the bench and start Bollinger this weekend, as New York lost its top two pivots to serious injuries within seven plays last weekend against Jacksonville.
However, Ray isn't frustrated by his decision to leave the Big Apple to return to the CFL.
"I am just happy to be up here playing," he said yesterday.
"I wouldn't change (my decision). I just didn't think it was a good situation to be in.
"They had Chad Pennington there and they signed (Jay) Fielder to be the (new) backup (in the off-season) and it was a long-term deal.
"I kind of thought -- you know what -- I don't want to just try and make it to be the No. 3.
"Sitting on the bench down there wasn't going to get me anywhere. Being a young guy I had to continue playing."
Bollinger -- a sixth-round 2003 draft pick from Wisconsin -- comes off the bench for his first-ever NFL regular-season start this weekend in Baltimore because Pennington is done for the year with a torn rotator cuff and Fiedler has a partially dislocated right shoulder.
HASN'T HAD CONTACT
Fiedler could also be out for the rest of the season, which forced the Jets to sign 41-year-old journeyman Vinny Testaverde this week.
According to U.S. media reports, the Jets might sign another QB. Among the candidates: Jesse Palmer, Doug Johnson and Jonathan Quinn.
But Ray hasn't had contact with the Jets.
The only contact he plans to have is with Bollinger later this week.
"I'm going to give Brooks a call this week and wish him good luck," said Ray.
"He definitely has got the mind for (the game).
"He knows what he is doing out there. He makes pretty good reads and he is a good athlete."
Ray is in the first season of a three-year deal with the Eskimos, but hasn't shut the door on the idea of trying the NFL for a second time down the road.
"A lot of things can happen between now and then," he said.
"I'm pretty open-minded. Who knows what could happen?"