On December 12, 2011 the Toronto Argonauts traded quarterback Steven Jyles, placekicker Grant Shaw, and a 2012 first round pick to the Edmonton Eskimos in exchange for proven, veteran quarterback, Ricky Ray. Three months following the trade, the CFL released their regular season schedule for 2012, which revealed that Ricky Ray’s very first game, as a member of the Toronto Argonauts would come against his former team, the Edmonton Eskimos.
Fast-forward to today, June 30, 2012. It is the day that all Argonauts fans have been waiting for since the arrival of Ray back in December. Ricky Ray will play in his first regular season game as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. While Ray and the Argonauts try to put the past behind them and look forward to a brand new start in 2012, there is no doubt that Ray has memories of all the good and bad times he previously experienced in Edmonton as a member of the Eskimos. Also seeing their first game action, as members of the Argos are receivers Jason Barnes and Maurice Mann, two former Eskimos who played with Ricky Ray for much of their CFL careers.
Ray also experienced many incredible moments in his 9-year stint with the Edmonton Eskimos. Ray captured two Grey Cup titles in his tenure with the Eski’s along with being crowned Grey Cup MVP in the Eskimos 2005 Grey Cup victory. Ray has three seasons in which he passed for 5000 yards along with 20 or more touchdown tosses. He obtains a career 66.8 completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 96.1.
The Argos enter Saturday nights game against the Eskimos looking to build upon a disappointing 2011 campaign which saw them post a 6-12 record and miss the playoffs. Argos General Manager, Jim Barker loaded up on new talent for the 2012 season, hoping that his team can have a memorable season and hoist the Grey Cup on home turf in November. The BC Lions were able to rebound last season after a 0-5 start to not only make the playoffs but also celebrate a Grey Cup victory in front of their home fans in BC Place last November.
Lost in all the hype of Ricky Ray’s return to Edmonton is the fact that two former Argonauts quarterbacks will be suiting up for the Eskimos. Steven Jyles, the newly named Eskimos starting quarterback is looking to prove that he is the real deal and can be a very productive quarterback in the CFL. Kerry Joseph was traded to the Argonauts following the 2007 CFL season and had a very disappointing two-year tenure in Toronto. Joseph signed with the Eskimos last season and backed up Ricky Ray. Both quarterbacks will be looking forward to the opportunity of facing their former team and giving the Eskimos their first victory of the 2012 season.
For the Argos this game marks the beginning of a historical season. There are no guarantees that the moves made by Jim Barker will result in a Grey Cup championship but regardless of the results this season will be historical for the Argonauts organization. The 100th Grey Cup this November at the Rogers Centre has already sold out and the Argos have created a buzz in the social media universe with all the hype surrounding the 100th Grey Cup festivities that will be occurring prior to the big game in November.
Argos fans hope that Saturday night is a glimpse of things to come in this 2012 CFL season. Argonauts fans hope that the new additions will be able to lead their team to the franchise’s first Grey Cup title since 2004. Fans can certainly expect their all-star quarterback Ricky Ray to be motivated to lead the Argos to a 1-0 record and defeat his former team in the process.