With a pretty popular Canadian born CFL player ruffling a few proverbial feathers lately on Twitter, I thought it was a great time to throw a few words together and let you know about Ricky Foley.
One of my favourite non-import defensive players of all time, Foley played the better part of 12 seasons in the CFL for three different teams as well as brief stints or workouts with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. I’ll admit what I first noticed about Foley was that he was just a really cool dude and quite frankly looked different than the prototypical Canadian defensive lineman. What I later learned was that Foley was from a farm background, double cool! Later still I learned that he was a devout Christian man and lived a good, honest life, triple cool! I was now a fan time three!
Breaking into the league in 2006, Foley was just another non-import playing spot duty on the BC Lions defensive line. The Lions would go on to win the Grey Cup in his rookie year. After toiling away for a year or two behind the prodigious and possible future NFL Hall of Famer, Cameron Wake, he finally got his shot to play full time in 2009. This was a breakout year for Foley as he boasted 12 quarterback sacks which procured him the coveted Most Outstanding Canadian award. This award is not handed out to a defensive player all that often so it was certainly an accomplishment to be celebrated.
This accolade earned Foley a workout with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and later that year a short stint with the New York Jets. Now, Foley and controversy have never been strangers. Upon returning from the NFL he apparently went on a BC radio station letting the Lions fans know he was re-signing with the club. It was revealed days later he had in fact joined the Toronto Argos. In any event, the CFL was better off now having him back in the league. In the big smoke is where Foley won his second of three Grey Cups in 2012 while capturing the Most Outstanding Canadian award.
Foley, a coveted free agent, decided to sign with the Saskatchewan Roughriders who incidentally were hosting the championship that year at historic Taylor Field. He would prove to be a lucky charm once again as the Riders won the 101 st Grey Cup. A ratio-busting rush-end, Foley would prove to be a fan favourite in Rider Nation. Another successful year in Sask landed the Ontario farm kid the Roughriders Most Outstanding Canadian nomination and a contract extension.
All good things must come to an end and such was the case for Ricky and his time in green and white as he was shipped back to Hogtown for fellow Canadian Shea Emery, who would go on to play just a quarter of football for the Riders before being injured and retiring.
Mr. Foley would spend another productive two years wreaking havoc for the boatmen, registering 75 total tackles in 2015 and 2016. A contract squabble led to him being released from Toronto.
In 2017 things came full circle and he was signed by the same BC franchise that gave the enigmatic pass rusher his start in pro football. This would prove to be his last season in professional football.
I have always been a fan of Foley whether he is donating time to his philanthropic endeavours, attending church, sacking QBs or shovelling cow manure, the dude is just cool. Thanks, Ricky Foley.
Stay safe sports fans, ‘till next time