Skip to main content

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray saw his first action of the season Friday night in Hamilton, replacing Trevor Harris in the second half of Toronto’s lopsided 34-2 loss to the Montreal Alouettes.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Ricky Ray is back as the Toronto Argonauts' starting quarterback.

Head coach Scott Milanovich said Sunday that Ray will be under centre Friday when the Argos (9-7) play host to the B.C. Lions (6-10) at Rogers Centre. Ray replaces Trevor Harris, who had been the club's starter for its first 16 regular-season games.

"We need to find out what Ricky is capable of doing before we get into the playoffs," Milanovich said. "Then we, I, need to make a decision as to who gives us the best chance to advance when we get there.

"Part of this is a function of that. When I spoke with Trevor (on Saturday) I told him he needs to be ready."

Ray saw his first action of the season Friday night in Hamilton, replacing Harris in the second half of Toronto's lopsided 34-2 loss to Montreal. He finished 12-of-15 passing for 94 yards and had a late TD strike negated by a penalty.

Harris was 11-of-14 passing for 102 yards against Montreal but Toronto's offence struggled mounting any consistency versus the Als.

Ray wouldn't say how healthy he is, only that he's capable of playing.

"I am good enough to play, that's all that matters," he said. "At this point it doesn't do me any good to think about where I'm at, what I can do, what I can't do.

"When you're out there in the game you just drop back, go through your progressions and try to get it to the guy that's open and do what you're supposed to do back there. I don't foresee any problems with that."

Harris assumed the starting duties while Ray recovered from off-season shoulder surgery. The fourth-year pro has completed over 70 per cent of his passes for 4,144 yards with a league-best 32 TD strikes but also 18 interceptions.

Harris has helped Toronto clinch an East Division playoff spot but the club has dropped its last two contests to stand third in the standings, two points behind co-leaders Ottawa and Hamilton.

"It's undeniable that we're not in the situation we're in without the way [Harris] has played," Milanovich said. "The good thing for the team is we've got two good quarterbacks."

Milanovich said the decision was probably the most difficult he's faced in his four-year tenure in Toronto. He had nothing but praise for the professionalism Harris displayed when told of the move.

"The one thing I want to be clear about is this is not Trevor's fault," Milanovich said. "I've spent every day for the last four years during the season with these two guys and both of them are professional, they've made it so easy.

"When I spoke with Trevor I knew he'd handle it well. Had I been sitting in his shoes I can't guarantee I would've handled it as professionally. Dealing with quarterbacks is different. It just is. There's so much pressure on them, so much responsibility. We ask so much of them and any time, really, when you make a move at quarterback it's difficult."

Ray, 36, in his 13th CFL season, also spoke with Harris and offered advice to his teammate.

"We're always talking," Ray said. "I've been in this situation before and talked to him a little after the game about just controlling what he can control.

"He's just got to continue to go out there and try to be his best for any opportunity that comes his way."

With the Toronto Blue Jays' ouster from the baseball playoffs, the Argos will return to Rogers Centre for their two remaining regular-season games against B.C. and Winnipeg. Playing indoors will make it easier for Ray and Co. to adopt more of an aerial gameplan.

"It definitely doesn't hurt being inside and not having to deal with any kind of conditions you've got to play in," Ray said. "It's definitely going to be a pass-friendly environment.

"It's just nice knowing we're going to be in our dome these next two games and don't have to worry about anything else that's going to happen.