Ricky Ray could never really see himself playing in a different-coloured CFL uniform, but after missing the playoffs for the third time in four years, he wasn’t sure the choice was going to be his.
“It’s always nice to know where you’re going to be the following year. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after the year was over, what direction the team was going to go in,” Ray said after re-signing a two-year deal, plus an option year, with the Edmonton Eskimos. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. “I’m just happy that it all worked out and I’m back in Edmonton.”
With a new contract, new head coach and new offensive co-ordinator, it’s no surprise Ricky Ray is looking at the 2011 CFL season as a bit of a fresh start.
“Obviously, thoughts went through my mind, especially this off-season, if I was in the plans. I’ve never wanted to play anywhere else,” said the Sacramento State product, who spent the 2004 season on the New York Jets roster in between winning Grey Cups with the Eskimos. “I played my whole career in Edmonton and I’d like to finish in Edmonton. For that to be possible, we’ve got to start winning some football games.”
Of course, having three different offensive co-ordinators in as many years — Marcus Crandell is the latest in the role — isn’t the most ideal of circumstances.
“That’s been tough,” Ray said. “This football team has been through a lot of ups and downs the last four or five years, so with that there’s been a lot of change with coaches and players and it’s been hard to kind of settle in to what you’re trying to do.
“It’s nice to be in one system and just build it continually to make minor improvements and adjustments from year to year rather than every year having to learn something new and get comfortable with that.
“Hopefully we can make that transition quick and as easy as possible because we’ve got to get off to a good start. We can’t have what we had last year where we come stumbling out of the blocks.”
NOTE: The Eskimos are expected to announce their running backs coach for the upcoming season as early as Tuesday.