The Toronto Argonauts’ reward to Ricky Ray for being named the CFL offensive player of the week is time off.
Ray received the CFL’s weekly honour Tuesday, after throwing four touchdown passes in a 31-26 road win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last Saturday. Toronto (8-9) locked up second spot in the East Division with the victory and home-field advantage for the division semi-final Nov. 11.
With a playoff spot sewn up, Ray will watch the Argos’ regular-season final Thursday against the arch-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Backup Jarious Jackson will start, with youngsters Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros also scheduled to play.
“It’s a short week and [Ray] isn’t 100-per-cent healthy,” Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said. “I believe it’s my job to get him into the playoff game as healthy as he can possibly be.
“I think that’s in the best interest of our football team.”
Milanovich’s decision is certainly good news for desperate Hamilton (6-11). The Ticats must beat Toronto and hope the Calgary Stampeders defeat the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday to make the playoffs.
If Hamilton loses, Edmonton will qualify for the playoffs, either crossing over into the East Division or finishing third in the West. The Eskimos (7-11) need a win over Calgary and a B.C. Lions victory over Saskatchewan on Saturday to take the No. 3 West playoff seed.
The Riders can clinch third with either an Eskimos loss or by downing the defending Grey Cup-champion Lions, who have already cemented first in the West. If Saskatchewan and Edmonton finish tied, the Esks will get the higher position based on having won the season series.
Receiver Dontrelle Inman – who has missed four games with a hamstring injury – returns for Toronto but offensive lineman Marc Parenteau (upper body) is doubtful. If Parenteau can’t play, rookie Joel Reinders would make his CFL debut.
Inman, who has 43 catches for 675 yards and four touchdowns, can’t wait for Thursday.
“I hate watching from the sidelines,” he said. “It’s better being in there than looking from the outside in. I still have that edge, I still have that knack to where I want to be the best at everything I do.”