Ray, who spent nine seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos and won two Grey Cups with the team, was back in the city where he got his start on Sunday as he dropped the ceremonial face-off ball before the National Lacrosse League home-opener of the Edmonton Rush against the Toronto Rock.
The 33-year-old quarterback was shockingly traded from the Eskimos to the Toronto Argonauts in December of 2011, a move that paid off very well for not only Ray but the team that acquired him, as the Argos went on to win the Grey Cup on their home turf.
Although things worked out well for Ray, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for Edmonton and was glad to make a return to town in a capacity other than as opposition quarterback.
“It’s always good to come back,” he said. “There are a lot of great memories here and a lot of good people. There are great fans here and it’s always nice to see everyone again. It was a big part of my career, getting my start here. It’s tough to come back in some ways too, but it’s part of professional sports. At some point you are going to move on and play for a different team.”
Coming back is made a little easier when you have recently won a Grey Cup, however.
“It does for sure,” Ray laughed. “We just had a great finish to our season this year and were able to get it done. What you play for is a chance to win a championship and we were able to do it this year.”
Ray was asked about former teammate Ed Hervey, who has come in as the new Eskimos GM, replacing the man who sent him to Toronto — Eric Tillman.
“I got to play with Ed and he was a great teammate and great player,” he said. “It’s great for him. He knows the Eskimo way. He has been in this organization as a player and in personnel. I wish him the best of luck and know he is going to do a great job.”
The Argos' pivot said the fact the NLL game featured Edmonton against Toronto was just a coincidence.
“It’s funny how it worked out, Toronto versus Edmonton,” he said. “I’m just here to experience the game. But I’m definitely here for the Rush today.”
Toronto came from behind to record a 10-9 victory in the game.