The Edmonton Journal
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Journal Stock / Ricky Ray
EDMONTON - Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray auditioned this week for 10 National Football League teams at the Denver Broncos training facility.
The 24-year-old showed off his accuracy, arm strength and poise in the pocket on Tuesday morning during the hour-long session designed to give scouts an up-close look at the CFL sensation.
"You get a bit nervous when you have that many people out to watch you," Ray said Wednesday in a phone interview from his off-season home in California. "You get a bit of the jitters before a workout, just like you do before a game.
"I think it went well," Ray said. "I got some positive feedback, but we'll have to wait and see what happens."
A second group audition is tentatively scheduled for early January. Four teams couldn't make the workout on Tuesday, but want to see the young quarterback in person.
"The interest level is high," agent Ken Staninger said from his Montana office. "We had 10 individual teams represented in Denver and seven of the 10 are still involved in the playoff race. For them to send some of their hierarchy to watch Ricky work out -- that tells you something.
"But it's too early to know what it all means. I've been doing this long enough. Ricky had a good, solid workout. He was sharp. Where that's going to lead us, I'm not sure."
Staninger declined to identify the teams in attendance on Tuesday, but the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns are believed to be in the hunt for the Sacramento State product.
The Broncos are obviously interested in the six-foot-three, 215-pound pivot who has an uncanny ability to read defences. Team officials gave him a tour of the facility on Monday and met with him that night to discuss the possibility of playing in the Mile High City.
Under the provisions of the CFL-NFL agreement, Ray is eligible to sign with a team south of the border from Dec. 29 to Feb.
"The Eskimos have made it very clear that they want Ricky back," said Staninger, who also represents Dickenson. "They would love to have him back.
"They understand we're not really interested in discussing that until after we've exhausted the options in the NFL. But the lines of communication are always open with Edmonton."
The next two months promise to be eventful for Ray both professionally and personally. He is to marry his high school sweetheart, Allyson Tsuda, on Jan. 17.