Ray gets free ride

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:21 AM ET

The highest-paid quarterback in the CFL is not going to play for the Edmonton Eskimos in tomorrow's pre-season opener in Calgary.

Ricky Ray is not going to throw a ball or make a hand-off against the Stampeders (7 p.m., McMahon Stadium) as he's the undisputed No. 1 pivot.

LEFORS WILL START

Instead, back-up Stefan LeFors will start the game with Jason Maas likely coming off the bench to start the second half.

The Eskimo coaching staff is trying to defuse any talk of a battle for the No. 2 spot behind Ray - claiming LeFors and Maas could both see action during the year - but this will be the best chance for the back-ups to shine.

That's basic logic because Ray will surely receive plenty of playing time during the second - and last - pre-season game on June 19 at home versus Saskatchewan before the club opens the regular-season in Regina on June 28.

As for the receivers on the field tomorrow night, three key players will likely be scratched.

Jason Tucker (back), Kamau Peterson (knee) and Kelly Campbell (quad) are very doubtful, as head coach Danny Maciocia wants to see three rookies - Jermaine Jamison, Greg Prator and Kevin Challenger.

"We are going to leave quite a few veterans behind," said Maciocia on the trip to Cowtown.

"Clearly, everybody wants to win a football game but we want to make sure we have a good feel for some of the guys that we brought in here and have been hard at it for the last little while and get an evaluation of where they are at."

Tucker hasn't practised since suffering back spasms on Day 1 of camp. Peterson's problem is much more minor.

"If they ask me to (play) I certainly will," remarked the non-import receiver.

"I feel good."

But Maciocia knows what Peterson and Tucker can do on the field, so there's no point having them play a game that means nothing in the standings. As for Campbell, he was enjoying his best practice through 12 days of training camp yesterday before pulling up lame - again.

Maciocia wants to have his first-string offence play two or three quarters in the home pre-season game, meaning Campbell will likely suit up then.

SCRATCHES UNKNOWN

As for other veterans who will be scratched tomorrow Maciocia wasn't giving any names yesterday.

But starting left guard Dan Comiskey was told to rest yesterday and not take part in any practice drills. He will likely be a healthy scratch as the club needs to determine who is the best sixth non-import O-lineman.

QUICK HITS: Back-up defensive back J.R. LaRose has told Sun Media that the funeral for Hunor LaRose is set for Saturday, meaning he can play in tomorrow's game. However, there is no official word if he will be playing... The current CFL rules don't force teams to cut roster size to a certain number after the first pre-season game. Maciocia hasn't decided when he's going to make the first serious cut to his list of 70 players (includes draft choices). The Esks have to declare their 46-man roster for their regular-season opener on June 21.


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