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Longest-serving Eskimos player remembers Ray’s days in Edmonton

Calvin McCarty didn’t have to think too long or hard to come up with his favourite Ricky Ray moment.

The longest-serving member of the Edmonton Eskimos locker-room shared that very space with the future Hall-of-Famer for the first five of McCarty’s soon-to-be 13 seasons in the Canadian Football League.

“I caught his 200th TD pass,” the 34-year-old fullback-of-all-trades recalled Wednesday, following Ray’s retirement announcement from Toronto. “I don’t have the ball though, just the memory. It was a game in Hamilton in 2011.”

The seven-yard toss into the end zone to the sure-handed McCarty was a milestone for Ray, contributing to a 38-23 Eskimos victory on the way to an appearance in the division final in Ray’s last season in Edmonton.

But there would be no physical momento for McCarty.

“I was lucky to be the recipient of that 200th TD pass. I definitely tried to keep the ball but I didn’t make it pass the sidelines,” McCarty said of the touchdown pass from Ray, who had 323 other touchdown tosses over his career. “Ricky was a big part of me, a big part of my career. He definitely taught me a lot about preparing and going out there and, no matter what it looks like, keep grinding and finish the game.

“I know he stood in the pocket and took some hits there at the end of his career and it sucks to see somebody go down like that, but I know he went down doing what he loves to do.”