Mitchell looks up to see his po­ten­tial

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - DONNA SPENCER

CAL­GARY — Bo Levi Mitchell has time on his side.

It’s easy to for­get the quar­ter­back is just 27 years old given his achieve­ments so far.

In three sea­sons as the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers starter, Mitchell has won a Grey Cup (2014) and earned the Cana­dian Football League’s Most Out­stand­ing Player award (’16).

His 5,385 pass­ing yards last sea­son vaulted him into fifth all-time in fran­chise his­tory. And his 43-7-1 reg­u­lar-sea­son record is a fast start to a ca­reer by any mea­sure.

“I don’t be­lieve I’ve got close to my ceil­ing,” Mitchell said Sun­day on the open­ing day of Stam­ped­ers train­ing camp. “I still see my­self as a young guy, mo­bile when I have to be.

“I feel very good about where I can go from here and make sure I con­tinue to get bet­ter ev­ery sin­gle day.”

Head coach Dave Dick­en­son says he’ll make sure that hap­pens.

“As I got later in my (play­ing) ca­reer, it kind of both­ered me (when) I didn’t feel at times like the coaches coached me as hard as I should have been coached mean­ing that, yeah, they think you know ev­ery­thing and you’ve got this han­dled,” Dick­en­son said.

“We’ll con­tinue to push Bo and he’s a mo­ti­vated man.”

When Mitchell ticks off the names of quar­ter­backs he ad­mires — Henry Bur­ris, An­thony Calvillo, Ricky Ray and the Na­tional Football League’s Drew Brees and Pey­ton Man­ning — Mitchell points to their con­sis­tency and ca­reer longevity.

Mitchell has the time and tal­ent to cre­ate his own football legacy. He wants to avoid ex­tended ab­sences from the field.

Mitchell’s pri­mary goal for him­self in 2017 is stay healthy enough to play all 18 reg­u­larsea­son games.

“The goal is to be there for the guys,” Mitchell ex­plained. “When they look at me, they know it’s re­li­a­bil­ity.’”

The 6-foot-2, 196-pound pivot from Katy, Texas, didn’t play ev­ery game the last two sea­sons only be­cause the Stam­ped­ers se­cured first in the West Divi­sion early.

Mitchell sat out the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nales to stay healthy and rested for the play­offs.

“He would have played 18 last year if I’d let him,” Dick­en­son said.

Mitchell be­lieves his off-sea­son train­ing reg­i­men and ex­pe­ri­ence on the field re­duces the risk of a long-term in­jury.

“I think there’s a cer­tain way to train,” he said. “I’m not go­ing to give away my se­crets to it be­cause that’s one of my ad­van­tages, is try­ing to be durable.

“If you’re a NASCAR driver, you’re go­ing to put a lot of money into that car, so I put a lot of money into my body. I spend a lot of money ev­ery sin­gle week mak­ing sure my body is right and healthy and ready to go.”

En­ter­ing his sixth CFL sea­son, Mitchell says he’s fig­ured out when to take pun­ish­ment and when to play it safe in a game.

“Un­der­stand­ing when to get down, when to go out of bounds, when to take the hit,” he ex­plained. “I ap­plaud guys like (Ed­mon­ton’s Mike) Reilly who will go out there and take a hit ev­ery sin­gle play.

“For me to be there all 18 games, I think there’s times to do it and times not to.”

In camp news, of­fen­sive line­man Quinn Smith and de­fen­sive line­man Ju­nior Turner will start the sea­son on the six-game in­jured list be­cause of off-sea­son knee surg­eries.

Vet­eran of­fen­sive line­men Dan Fed­erkeil, Shane Bergman, and Deron Mayo are among play­ers ei­ther sit­ting out or see­ing lim­ited reps to start train­ing camp as they re­ha­bil­i­tate from var­i­ous in­juries.


Stam­ped­ers quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell sees a lot of years of de­vel­op­ment and im­prove­ment ahead of him in the CFL.

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