Chiefs Have Eyes on CFL Quarterback

An article in the <I>Sacramento Bee</I> has indicated that the Kansas City Chiefs are attempting to sign CFL Edmonton Eskimos starting quarterback Ricky Ray.

Ray the former Sacramento State quarterback led the Eskimos to the CFL Grey Cup Championship last November and he has caught the interest of the Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

Ray had a spectacular season in 2003. He led the CFL in all categories including passing (4600) yards, touchdowns (36) and only threw 12 interceptions. Ray's strength is his on the field savvy and his leadership in the huddle. Both attributes are high on the Chiefs wish list when they contemplate signing free agents.

Ray has already worked out for the Denver Broncos but Ray did not get an offer from the Denver. He has worked out for ten other teams to date and the final four suitors might have be close to defining themslevs based on comments by Ray's agent, Ken Staninger.

"All the teams have an interest, and one team has said they'd like to put an offer on the table. But who's the front-runner? I don't know."

The snag in negotiations to date is the fact that Ray is on the verge of getting married and that has caused a delay in his decision process.

Last season Ray made a base pay of $30,000 (U.S.) with Edmonton and he would significantly increase his base salary as a back-up in the NFL.

The Chiefs will be looking for a third string quarterback this off-season since the team is unlikley planning on resigning Jonathan Quinn.

The upside for Ray is his age. The Eskimo gunslinger is only 24 years old and he could serve as a back-up to Trent Green for the next three years.

Ray has always dreamed of playing in the NFL but he's not under any pressure to make a decision.

"I really don't know how much (NFL) interest there is ... and how serious it is," Ray said. "Teams wanted to see me work out, but I don't know what they're thinking. Obviously, it's been my dream to play (in the NFL). But I don't think this is do or die for me."

But Ray understands this is a process and with his impending wedding set for later this month, he has plenty of other things to worry about. But regardless if he returns to the Eskimos or carries a clipboard in the NFL, he seems to understand his plight very well.

"I feel like I'm a lucky person to be doing what I'm doing right now," Ray said. "I'm sure this will go to the last minute before something happens."

The Chiefs are likely to be in a bidding war for Ray with other NFL teams. Two years ago the Chiefs outbid a dozen NFL teams for Wide Receiver Marc Boerigter and they've had good returns with him.

Green is signed for another six seasons but he's not likely to play that long. The Chiefs have never developed a young quarterback in their history and Ray could learn a lot playing behind Green.

The Chiefs have not had success drafting quarterbacks in the past. Based on where they'll be slotted in the NFL Draft in April, Ray would be a strong signing. As it stands now he would be far ahead of any college quarterback in regards to development and experience that could be drafted by the Chiefs in the middle to late rounds of the draft in April.


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