TORONTO — Argonauts defensive end Ricky Foley’s professional football career has had some ups and downs, but he says his brief venture in the National Football League helped the way he plays in the Canadian Football League.
In 2009, Foley had a breakout year in his fourth season in the CFL with the B.C. Lions. He finished that year with 51 tackles, a league-leading 12 sacks and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian.
Foley’s breakout season occurred just one year after former Lion Cameron Wake left for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL after recording a remarkable 39 sacks in two seasons.
Following his standout ’09 campaign, Foley looked to follow in Wake’s footsteps and spent seven months with the Seattle Seahawks before being released. He then spent a few days with the New York Jets but was released from there too.
Wake has since become one of the top defensive stars in the NFL and although Foley did not crack an NFL roster like his former teammate, he took some important lessons from his time in the United States.
“I learned a whole lot down in Seattle,” Foley told Sportsnet.ca Friday. “I think I’m twice the player I was in 2009.”
It was reported in September 2010 that Foley had re-signed with the Lions, however the Courtice, Ont., native changed his mind and instead joined the Argos — the team he grew up cheering for.
At the 100th Grey Cup against the Calgary Stampeders he will be playing in front of his hometown fans and couldn’t ask for anything better.
Even though the game is in Foley’s backyard, the 30-year-old isn’t worried about nerves or added pressure.
“I’m just a little anxious to get this ball rolling,” Foley said. “I’m surrounded by however many thousands of my supporters and my family so I don’t really feel any pressure at all. I can’t wait until the whistle goes and we start playing ball.
“My family has done a great job keeping pressure off me as far as tickets and demands and stuff like that. My phone will probably be turned off tonight. You can write me an email if you want to, but you’re not getting through to me on my phone.”
Foley is one of 13 Argos from the Greater Toronto Area that will have the majority of the 50,000-plus crowd behind them on Sunday.