Ricky Ray is returning to the Toronto Argonauts.
The Argos announced Friday that Ray has signed a one-year deal with the CFL club in 2018. He was eligible to become a free agent Feb. 13.
“Ricky Ray will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the CFL, but we are thrilled he’s not done adding to his historic career just yet,” GM Jim Popp said in a statement. “We are very excited to welcome him back for another season in the Double Blue.”
Ray, 38, led Toronto to a Grey Cup title last year, a CFL-record fourth as a starter, to cap the club’s first season under head coach Marc Trestman. Following the Argos’ 27-24 win over the Calgary Stampeders in November at TD Place, Ray said he was going to take some time to decide his football future.
Ray also said at the time if he decided to continue playing, it would be with Toronto. The Argos acquired Ray prior to the 2012 season from the Edmonton Eskimos and Ray rewarded his new club by leading it to victory in the 100th Grey Cup game at Rogers Centre.
Last December, Toronto acquired quarterback James Franklin from Edmonton and signed the 26-year-old to a two-year deal. Ray’s return gives the Argos a potentially potent 1-2 punch under centre.
Ray enjoyed a resurgence under Trestman last season.
After being limited to just 12 games over two injury-plagued campaigns, Ray made 17 starts and registered his first 5,000-yard passing season since ’08 in leading the Argos (9-9) atop the East Division after finishing last in ’16 with a 5-13 mark.
Ray went through a similar process following the 2016 season before deciding to continue playing.
The day Trestman was hired, he named Ray his starter and Ray responded by leading Toronto back to the CFL playoffs and being named the East Division’s outstanding player.
Ray has played in 233 career CFL games over his 15-year career. The six-foot-three, 214-pound California native stands fourth overall in passing yards (60,429) behind Anthony Calvillo (79,816), Damon Allen (72,381) and Henry Burris (63,227).
Ray has been named a CFL all-star three times and last year was the East Division’s outstanding player for the third occasion.