September 16, 2022

Dynamic Duo: Ray and Tucker made each other great

Over his nine seasons in Green and Gold, Ricky Ray threw a franchise record 210 touchdowns.

Thirty-seven different players caught a TD pass from Ray. The QB’s top targets included All-Stars like Ed Hervey, Kamau Peterson, Fred Stamps as well as Terry Vaughn.

And, of course, Jason Tucker.

Good hands: every EE player with TD from Ricky Ray

The Ray-Tucker connection produced more than 250 points over six seasons together (2002-2003 and 2005-2008), with the former passing to the latter for a touchdown 42 times. That’s one in every five of Ray’s TD tosses with Edmonton, and over 70 per cent of Tucker’s 59 career touchdown receptions, which rank as second most in EE history.

“Whenever you look at a good quarterback, obviously he’s got a really good receiver that’s playing for him,” says Ray. “You’ve always got to have that No. 1 guy that you can just count on to make the tough catches and get open when you need them, and I’ve been very lucky to have a lot of those guys throughout my career.”

Whether it was a record-setting 105-yard touchdown in Winnipeg or a clutch two-point conversion in overtime of the 2005 Grey Cup, there wasn’t a field too long or a moment too big to keep the Ray-Tucker connection from finding the endzone.

“He put the ball right where it needed to be each and every time,” Tucker says. “He made my job easy. When I had to go and do something spectacular, I’d just run my route, get open and I knew the ball would be there.”

The dynamic duo led Edmonton to Grey Cup victories in 2003 and 2005. Tucker took home the MVP award from the 91st Grey Cup in Regina, where he caught seven of Ray’s passes for 132 yards with two touchdowns. Ray was named MVP of the 93rd Grey Cup, after completing 35 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns (one by Tucker) at B.C. Place Stadium.

“He’s a guy that leads by actions, he doesn’t say many words. He’s clam, he’s cool, he’s collected, he doesn’t let anything get a rise out of him or get him wound up. That’s what you like in a quarterback,” Tucker says.

“He’s got that calm demeanour. You look in his eyes and you know this dude’s ready to play. He’s going to lead us, and I’m going to war with this dude any day of the week and I know he’s going to show us the way to go.”

“I’m sure if you ask most of those guys, they would say, ‘Ricky didn’t really tell me anything.’ I just wanted them to be confident in what they were doing and if they did something a certain way, I tried to adjust to what they were doing,” says Ray.

“That way I didn’t have to guess what they were going to do or try to get them to change their game. I just knew what to expect from them and thought I could be more confident throwing to those guys by doing it that way.”