Ray's number entering Flutie territory
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Ricky Ray is in range to tie Doug Flutie's completions totals. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - Ricky Ray didn’t grow up watching Dough Flutie play in the CFL at all.
But that doesn’t take away from the realization that he is just 15 completions away from tying one of the league’s most prolific passers for sixth on the CFL’s all-time list.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Ray said following Thursday’s walk-through at Commonwealth Stadium. “There have been some great quarterbacks that have played in this league. Doug Flutie’s one of those guys. You can only imagine what kind of numbers he would have put up if he would have played a whole career up here.”
Likely, they would have been even greater than what the Boston College hero compiled in a 30-year career that spanned the USFL, CFL and NFL, which places him sixth on the all-time gridiron passing statistics with 58,179 yards on 4,286 completions — 41,355 on 2,975 of which happened in the CFL.
“And then you’ve got a guy in Montreal that’s setting some marks that will probably never be broken,” Ray said of Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who is coming up on Damen Allen’s all-time record. “It’s just great to be able to have a long career that I’ve had and to play in a town like this where football means so much.
“I’m just trying to go out there and do my job.”
While chances are good Ray could complete No. 2,976 in Friday’s game against the visiting Toronto Argonauts (7:30 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED), nothing is guaranteed. Especially since he completed just 12 of 27 pass attempts in last week’s win over the Calgary Stampeders — in just the 10th game in his career where he passed less than 50%.
“I didn’t get to watch much of Flutie, a little bit when he was in Buffalo and San Diego but not much up here,” said Ray, who came to the CFL in 2002 when Flutie was already in his second stint in the CFL. “I definitely hear about all the things that he’s done and seen a few highlights here and there, but he’s a guy that I know about and know did some really good things up here.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to see some guys throughout my career (like) Damon Allen play into his 40s and set some records, now Anthony Calvillo’s doing it. You just keep going strong every year until somebody kicks you out, I guess.”
But that’s a long way away for Ray, 31, whose experience and ability would be welcome additions on the roster of his opponent this week, the Toronto Argonauts.
“It’s obvious he’s comfortable in the protections, he’s comfortable with where to go with the ball and he’s playing like the Ricky Ray from three, four or five years ago,” said Argos coach Jim Barker. “When you have that, and then you get him into a system where he can be successful, you can make whatever changes you want.
“That’s not to downplay what (GM) Eric Tillman’s done. He’s done a fine job and they have a fine football team.”
JUST FINE: Barker wouldn’t comment on the fines handed by the league to Argos players Ejiro Kuale for an illegal hit on Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce and defensive end Ricky Foley for publicly criticizing officials following last week’s game.
“We’re focusing on our team, anything else you can ask the commissioner about,” said Barker, who was fined $1,000 for his comments on the officiating. “We’re not allowed to talk about it.”