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Argos reward star QB Ricky Ray with contract extension

05/31/2013 10:57 EDT | Updated 07/31/2013 05:12 EDT
The Toronto Argonauts on Friday announced a contract extension for three-time Grey Cup winner Ricky Ray, a deal that will run through the 2015 season.

Ray, 33, led the Argos in his first season in town to their first championship in eight years. He threw for 4,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 regular season games, and followed that up by completing over 70 per cent of his attempts in three playoff games, with five touchdowns and one interception.

Although he's coming off a Grey Cup championship and has a new deal, Ray won't be resting on his laurels as he enters his 11th Canadian Football League season.

"In football nothing is guaranteed, contracts aren't guaranteed," Ray said. "You still have to go out and perform at a high level.

"That's what they expect and that's what you expect of yourself. I don't think now I can relax a little bit, you've got to go out there and perform every week."

Argos general manager Jim Barker had huge expectations when he acquired veteran quarterback Ricky Ray in a blockbuster trade with the Edmonton Eskimos in December 2011.

Calm approach

He envisioned Ray's calm approach and on-field poise helping secure the franchise its first Grey Cup since 2004. After a slow start with his new team, Ray did just that on the grandest of stages, leading the Double Blue to a 35-22 win over the Calgary Stampeders in the historic 100th Grey Cup before 53,208 spectators at Rogers Centre.

"We have worked hard to establish a culture of winning within our football team and it all begins with top calibre players like Ricky Ray," Barker said in a statement. "Securing him as an Argonaut for the long-term ensures us stability at a key position and makes a clear statement to our fans and our city that we are serious about fielding a competitive club year in and year out."

Ray came to Toronto after nine seasons with Edmonton, in what has now turned out to be one of the most lopsided CFL trades in recent years. The Eskimos subsequently released quarterback Stephen Jyles, the biggest piece traded the other way, after one season.

Having a year in head coach Scott Milanovich's offence under his belt will certainly be a major benefit for Ray once training camp opens Sunday.

"Last year I was learning from scratch just trying to figure out what I was doing out there," he said. "Now I have a lot of game experience to go off of and things we worked on throughout the year I'll be able to carry over.

"Any changes or tweaks we need to make I can make those and not have to worry about where guys are lining up or what I'm supposed to do. I can be more comfortable with those situations."

Ray has thrown for 44,588 yards, sixth-all-time in the CFL, to go along with 230 touchdowns. He led Edmonton to championships in 2003 and 2005.

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