TORONTO — Ricky Ray is back healthy again with no shortage of advice about how to stay that way.
Ray will return to the lineup Wednesday when Toronto hosts the B.C. Lions after missing three games with a sprained knee. Ray was hurt July 25 when Montreal defensive lineman Vaughn Martin rolled into his knee after throwing a pass in the second half of the Argonauts' 30-17 home win.
And Ray said following Thursday's practice that he's had plenty of people in his ear about how to better protect himself after a pass.
"It starts at home with the wife, then it trickles to my dad and then other players," Ray said with a chuckle. "It's kind of funny, everyone has their opinion on how to prevent injuries out there.
"Maybe I need to start listening."
Toronto (4-4) went 1-2 during Ray's absence. Backup Logan Kilgore was 58-of-100 passing for 666 yards with two touchdowns and nine interceptions in the three starts.
"I hate putting it on one guy but that quarterback position, when you get that No. 1 guy back and your No. 1 guy has the status of Ricky Ray, it's going to mean something to everyone in that locker-room," Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said. "There's a calmness, a sense of trust on both sides of the ball when you have that No. 1 guy back who can win any game at any point.
"Yeah, I think he'll give us a little shot in the arm."
Just over an hour after Milanovich's availability, the Argos announced the surprising release of veteran linebacker Keon Raymond. The 33-year-old was in his ninth CFL season but first with Toronto after signing as a free agent in February that reunited him with Rich Stubler, his former defensive co-ordinator in Calgary.
Raymond was Toronto's second-leading tackler with 34 and also had two interceptions (one returned for a TD in last week's 46-23 home loss to Edmonton) and a sack.
Ray, 36, began the season as Toronto's starter after missing most of the 2015 campaign recovering from shoulder surgery. He led the Argos to a 3-2 record while completing 73.7 per cent of his passes for 1,235 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception before the injury.
"I'm ready to play," Ray declared. "Last week in practice I was able to move around and I feel like I can do pretty much everything out there.
"We're not playing our best football right now but (I) just like to be back and be a part of it and help my team win. That's the goal as a player, to be one of the pieces of the puzzle out there and try to help the team out with your play and I get a chance this week."
Kilgore won his CFL debut as a starter, a 23-20 decision over Ottawa on July 31, despite throwing two interceptions. But he had five picks in a 34-17 home loss to Winnipeg on Aug. 12 and threw two more before being pulled in the second half against Edmonton.
"The hardest thing for a young quarterback is to fight through when you don't have your best stuff," Milanovich said. "The good ones still can find a way to win but that takes time, it takes experience.
"Yeah, I wish Logan had had a better go of it but I still have faith in him and we're not going to give up on him. He's just got to go back to work and get his confidence back and (if) he gets another shot takes advantage of it."
Ray said he feels Kilgore's pain.
"I've been through that quite a bit in my career," Ray said. "The big thing I've learned is just try to control what you can control and be ready for your opportunity."
Milanovich said rookie Cody Fajardo will miss four-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury suffered against Edmonton. He added receiver Tori Gurley could return from injury against B.C.
Ray will have the benefit of a full week of practice before facing B.C. but said there's plenty to fix offensively.
"That's the hard thing because it's not just one area," Ray said. "Execution, turning the football over, just little misses in techniques and guys just not playing well as a unit.
"There's a lot to focus on but . . . we want to try and stay positive because once you kind of start playing for yourself and not the guys around you that's when things can snowball."