Help is on its Ray

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

The way it worked, it was my pleasure to break the news to Ricky Ray.

"I hadn't heard," he said.

He figured it out fast.

"This trade really affects me," he said.

Yes. It definitely does.

"It's going to be a big difference in getting hit or not getting hit."

Yes. There's certainly that.

"Being able to hand the ball off will take the heat off the passing game as well."

Yes. That would be true too.

Smart as a whip, Ricky Ray.

An hour and a half later, he was at a press conference to expand on all that and didn't stop smiling for a single second.

Dan Comiskey has been traded back to the Eskimos by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Comiskey replaces a turnstile at left guard where he'd spent the previous three seasons and where he was last a CFL All-Star.

Troy Davis has also been traded to the Eskimos by the Tiger-Cats.

Davis led Hamilton and the CFL last year with a team record 1,628 yards. Davis has 792 so far this year. That's 446 yards more than Eskimo (one assumes ex-Eskimo) Ron McClendon.

In exchange, the Tiger-Cats get Canadian receiver Brock Ralph who has not found the form he had last year before he went to the New York Jets training camp.

The Eskimos also gave up Tay Cody and a first round draft pick. Most Edmonton fans will be shocked to know that there was somebody named Tay Cody on the team.

This is as close as it gets to a blockbuster trade in the CFL these days. For the Eskimos it definitely is a big deal deal.

Comiskey and Davis represent the missing links this season. The offensive line and running game have been the biggest problems behind being brain dead with all the penalties and willingness to pay the price to be a top team game in and game out.

"It's a good day," said head coach Danny Maciocia.

The trade is so weighted to what it can do now and for the future for the Eskimos - the burning question is if Jason Maas is a future consideration.

"Jason is an Eskimo until the end of the season. When the year is over we'll sit down and assess things," said Maciocia.

Yes. But does Hamilton have an IOU from the Eskimos and/or a leg up on doing a deal for the No. 2 quarterback?

"No one has a leg up," said Maciocia.

"There is nothing hidden for the time being."

The time being?

"There is nothing hidden with Jason Maas. Period."

Few left the Eskimo office feeling the inquiry light wasn't flashing and that all mutual tickets should be held until the start of the season and the result made official.

Whatever.

"I think we have ourselves one of the premier guards in the CFL," said Maciocia, who did the deal himself with final approval from CEO Hugh Campbell.

"Watching Dan leave after last year was difficult because of the player he is and the individual he is," added Maciocia.

"His situation has changed for the better."

So has Maciocia's.

"This is my ninth year in this league and I know it's almost impossible to make trades in the CFL. People are phoning you every week to make one. But they always want half your roster."

He takes credit for pulling it off.

"I guess I can make trades. It's a pretty good trade as far as we're concerned."

But the head coach has a warning for his football team: The trade isn't the cure-all and the magic elixir which will put Grey Cup rings on their fingers.

"It doesn't cure anything.

"We have a lot of work. This doesn't stop players from jumping offside, time count violations and all those other penalties.

"This trade is going to help us."

But it mostly comes back to Ricky Ray and having a fair chance to being able to be Ricky Ray.

"It's going to mean better play by the offensive line," he said.

"We're getting a pretty good player," he said of Comiskey. "Dan will help us out right away. And we all know what Troy can do running the ball. He can get those tough yards."

Ricky Ray may survive. Won't go so far as to say the Eskimos will thrive.


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