Ricky's bell got rung

CON GRIWKOWSKY, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Ricky Ray says he's OK.

Well, other than the blow to his ego for his recent inability to hang on to the football.

Sure, he took a hellacious hit from Saskatchewan defensive lineman Maurice Lloyd that may have concussed a lesser man.

And head coach Danny Maciocia is wishing out loud, - but not insisting, - that somebody in the CFL office might want to take a look at whether Lloyd's hit was helmet-to-helmet.

Maciocia's passing reference about his 82-year-old grandmother's ocular ability to see the play was at least worthy of review.

"He's shown an ability (to take a pounding) over the years," said Maciocia.

"Having said that, I'm hoping that's one the league will take a long, hard look at just because these are human beings and there's only so much pounding some people can take to the head."

For the record, Maciocia has not filed a formal request with the CFL to review the play.

To their credit, the Esks did make an off-season effort to protect Ray from blindside hits, so he's taking less of a pounding than he did the past two seasons.

"Through the course of the season you're going to get tattooed pretty good," said Maciocia.

"That's what happened on that play, but obviously, we all held our breath on that one because it was such a collision when Lloyd came off the perimeter.

"I was glad he was able to stand up. Ricky's not one to discuss the severity of the blow."

Ricky Ray says he's OK.

If he says he's OK, everybody else has to take him at his word.

"I got my bell rung pretty good," said Ray. "My mind was fine. All my thoughts were there. There was no loss of memory. I wasn't misthinking or anything like that. I just wasn't playing well."

Ray stood up like a man and took responsibility for his role in one of the biggest fiascos in team history.

"Oh, yeah," Ray said. "I turned the ball over the first part of the game and put our team in the hole. That's my doing. I can't be doing that. I've got to get it cleaned up."

He understands he's played a major role in the team's wrong-way momentum in the giveaway-takeaway stats.

Going into the Oct. 10 game in B.C., the Eskimos were minus-one in that category. After the shellacking in Saskatchewan, the team is minus-nine.

"I don't think I'm forcing or pressing anything," said Ray. "That first fumble, I just got killed and then it kinda snowballed from there. The main thing is the fumbles.

"I've got to do a better job of protecting the football when I'm trying to move in and out of the pocket."

Not that he was getting much help from his supporting cast. It was a total team effort on the offensive side of the ball, but Ray took the rap for setting a bad tone.

It goes with the quarterback's territory of being only one of two guys on the field who touch the ball every play.

"It started with me and that's the thing," said Ray. "Once the snowball starts rollin', it can trickle down to everybody else.

"If I just take care of my job and my responsibilites, go out there and play well, you'll make everybody else around you play better."

Ricky Ray says he's OK.

At this juncture of the season, whether the season lasts for two more weeks or four rides on Ray's shoulders.

"You have to be real with yourself," said Ray. "You have to admit you messed up. You don't want to make excuses and try to put the blame on anybody else. You've got to say, 'Hey, I didn't play well' and try to correct that."

He wouldn't have it any other way.


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