Ray free to cut any deal he likes

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

It's open season on Ricky Ray.

The 24-year-old quarterback officially cleared National Football League waivers yesterday, when no team put in a claim for him following his release by the New York Jets on Friday.

It required three business days before he officially became free. Now Ray, who played for Edmonton in 2003 and 2004, can negotiate with any team in any league.

There is speculation that Ray asked for his release to potentially try and do another deal with another NFL team.

Following the 2003 CFL season, in which he led the Eskimos to a Grey Cup, several NFL teams pursued him. He chose the Jets, but never dressed for a regular-season game, spending the year on the practice roster.

Independent of what, if any, interest there is in the NFL, the Eskimos are expected to try and re-sign him. They likely will have the inside track because of his familiarity with the city, the franchise and new head coach Danny Maciocia, who was the Eskimos' offensive co-ordinator during Ray's days in Edmonton. The Eskimos' current starter is Jason Maas, who lost his job to Ray. He started all the games last year, showing no effects of the back injury that led to his losing his job to Ray. But he is overcoming shoulder surgery.

Hamilton is expected to pursue Ray after failing to sign Doug Flutie. While general manager Ron Lancaster said on Monday the team would be "crazy not to be interested" in Ray, he also prefaced it by saying he had not talked to head coach Greg Marshall.

The Ticats issued a comment from Marshall yesterday, who said: "In regard to any player not currently under contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats we would prefer not to speculate or comment at this time. With only a couple of weeks until training camp begins, we are available to discuss any and all players currently under contract for our upcoming 2005 season."

The Argos have been rumoured to be strongly interested in making a pitch for Ray. Co-owner David Cynamon said the team hadn't focused on whether or not it had an interest on Ray because he was under contract. Now that has changed.

"It will be something we will definitely discuss and look at," he said.


Videos

Photos