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Longtime CFL quarterback Ricky Ray retires

Toronto Argonauts v Calgary Stampeders

CALGARY, AB - SEPTEMBER 13: Ricky Ray #15 of the Toronto Argonauts looks up field for a teammate to throw to during a CFL game against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

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Ricky Ray was never able to latch on in the NFL, but that didn’t keep him from having a long career.

According to Dan Ralph of the Canadian Press, the longtime CFL quarterback announced his retirement Wednesday, calling it a career after last season’s neck injury.

Of his 17 years, 16 were spent in the CFL, where he was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the league. He’s one of just four quarterbacks to throw for more than 60,000 yards, and he won a record four Grey Cups.

It took him a bit to warm to the idea of playing in the CFL. He went to camp with the 49ers in 2001, where they called him “Frito Ray” because he drove a chip delivery truck. Then after a stint with the Edmonton Eskimos, gave it a shot with the Jets in 2004. He dressed for six games, but wasn’t able to leapfrog Quincy Carter on the depth chart and headed back to Canada.

Ray suffered a neck injury last June while playing for the Toronto Argonauts, and the 39-year-old realized coming back didn’t make sense.

“The more I thought about it, physically I just don’t think I can perform at a standard necessary to play anymore,” Ray said. “Every time I had that competitor inside of me saying, ‘Hey you can still do it, there’s a lot left to accomplish. I just had the practical voice in my head saying, ‘Physically you just can’t do it anymore.’

“As an athlete you’re always trying to overcome something or trying to push yourself and think you can do things that maybe even you don’t think you can. This off-season, the practical side of me just kept coming out and saying it was my time to be done with football.”

And even if he never stuck in the NFL, it was an amazing career.