Ricky Ray has overcome yet another injury, and the Toronto Argonauts’ veteran quarterback is wondering how the demands of football will impact his life long after he’s thrown his final pass.
Ray will start Wednesday night when Toronto (4-4) hosts the B.C. Lions (6-3) at BMO Field. Ray returns after missing three games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee suffered in a 30-17 home win over the Montreal Alouettes on July 25.
Ray, in his 14th CFL season, has endured numerous injuries since being dealt to the Argos by the Edmonton Eskimos after the 2011 season. The married father of two daughters missed four starts in 2012 with a knee ailment and seven games the following year with a shoulder problem.
After starting 17 regular-season games in 2014, Ray missed 17 games last year recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
In football terms, Ray is definitely an elder statesman, but in life he’s still a very young man with many productive years still ahead of him. However, the question remains how much the constant pounding Ray has endured over his career will affect his life after football.
“You think about it but this is what I signed up for,” Ray said. “I mean, it’s football. We’re going to get injured.
“If I was worried about that, I wouldn’t be playing football. It’s kind of the price you pay as a professional athlete, to take some of this pounding over the years and just fight through it. I’m okay with that.”
There’s a long list of former pro football players who endure challenges after they’re done playing. Many have trouble getting out of bed each morning; others find it difficult to be physically active with their children.
And there are those who struggle daily with depression and other mental issues as a the result of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with a history of severe and/or repetitive head trauma.
The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Ray is enjoying a banner CFL career, one certainly worthy of Hall of Fame consideration after he retires. A three-time Grey Cup champion, Ray is the most accurate passer in league history (68.1 per cent), stands fourth overall in all-time passing yards (53,721) and is second in Toronto franchise history in touchdown passes (80).
And this season, Ray has completed 115 of 156 passes (73.7 per cent) for 1,235 yards with nine touchdowns and only one interception. Toronto was 3-2 prior to Ray’s knee injury.
“Obviously it does take a toll on you physically,” Ray said. “Hopefully I won’t be feeling it too much later on in life but right now it (knee) feels like it’s healing up like it did before.”
The Duron Carter saga is finally over.
An arbitrator rejected the Montreal receiver’s appeal Monday of the one-game suspension he received for bumping into Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell during the RedBlacks’ 28-13 win over the Alouettes in June. By appealing the ban, Carter remained eligible to continue playing until the arbitrator’s ruling.
Carter and the CFL Players Association had the right to appeal to an arbitrator as per the collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players. That allowed Carter to play in seven games, including Montreal’s 43-19 win over Ottawa on Aug. 19, after initially being suspended by the league.
Ironically, the arbitrator’s decision means Carter won’t be play Thursday night when Montreal faces Ottawa.
Former Montreal Carabins star David Foucault was among 11 players released Sunday by the Carolina Panthers. NFL teams have until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday to reduce their training-camp rosters to 75 players.
Foucault, a towering six-foot-seven, 305-pound offensive tackle, spent two seasons with the Panthers after signing with the NFL club as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in five games, including one start as a rookie in 2014.