Veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell resumes practising with Calgary Stampeders

By The Canadian Press
July 16, 2018 - 4:30pm

Bo Levi Mitchell is back practising with the Calgary Stampeders.

The veteran quarterback returned to the field Monday in equipment after suffering a knee injury in Calgary's 27-3 road win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday night. Mitchell watched Friday's rundown wearing a sleeve on his injured right knee.

Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson is taking a cautious approach regarding whether Mitchell will play Saturday night when the Montreal Alouettes (1-3) visit the Stampeders (4-0).

"He (Mitchell) was able to do some non-competitive drills so that's a good sign," Dickenson told reporters. "But it's going to be day-to-day if not week-to-week.

"There's certainly some injury so you have to be smart about it but I think a lot of pro athletes have played with injuries. It's just whether or not he can be not only capable but we can do a good job running our offence."

Mitchell was injured with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter after taking a low hit from Ottawa defensive lineman Danny Mason, who received a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Mitchell remained in the game for three more plays as Calgary boosted its lead to 17-0 on a Rene Paredes 17-yard field goal but went to the dressing room before Calgary's next possession. 

He returned to the sidelines in the second half and watched the remainder of the game in uniform as Nick Arbuckle handled the offence.

"I'm a believer in you need to practise to play," Dickenson said. "I'm going to play him if he's healthy and ready.

"And when I say healthy it's that he can function at a high level and he can move around and avoid hits. That was the main think as far as last week. He even probably could've finished but you're kind of a sitting duck back there if you can't move so it's just not worth it. I'm hoping he does everything possible to get healthy and then I can make the decision whether or not to play him."

 With Calgary's win, Mitchell became the fastest quarterback in CFL history to reach 60 career victories. He improved his overall mark to 60-10-2 (.847), breaking the record established by Winnipeg's Ken Ploen, who achieved the milestone in his 78th start, a 24-15 win over Edmonton on Sept. 23, 1963.


LUCKY RETURN?: How's this for luck of the draw?

Drew Willy could return under centre for the Montreal Alouettes (1-3) as they take on the CFL-leading Stampeders in Calgary (4-0) on Saturday night. The Stampeders' defence is allowing a league-low 9.5 points per game and was stellar in the Stampeders' 27-3 road win in Ottawa.

Willy missed Montreal's 28-18 loss to Ottawa on July 6 with neck/shoulder injuries after being injured in the club's 23-17 road win over Saskatchewan. Jeff Matthews started against the Redblacks and was 18-of-30 passing for 280 yards and a TD but returned from the bye Friday in a walking boot as Willy practised with the starting offence.

Montreal was off Monday and will resume practising Tuesday. That's when the club is expected to address its quarterback situation.

Willy opened as Montreal's No. 1 quarterback and has a 1-and-2 record. But he's also been sacked a CFL-leading 10 times while the Alouettes have allowed 14 overall, also tops in the league.

Calgary's defence has not only been stingy but also opportunistic, having forced a CFL-best 14 turnovers. In turn, the Stampeders' offence has scored 51 points off turnovers and registered 13 sacks, both also league-highs.


RECORD STREAK: It's the Saskatchewan Roughriders' turn to again try to halt Jeremiah Masoli's record run.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback has recorded a record-tying nine straight 300-yard passing games heading into Thursday night's home game versus Saskatchewan. Masoli has tied the mark first set by Sam Etcheverry in 1956 and later tied in 1991 by Kent Austin, the former Ticats head coach/vice-president of football operations who remains a consultant with the club.

Masoli faces the Riders' defence for the second time this year. He was 23-of-43 passing for 333 yards and an interception July 5 in an 18-13 loss in Regina.

But Hamilton fans won't see former Ticats starter Zach Collaros in action for the Riders. Collaros, who was dealt to Saskatchewan in the off-season, is on the six-game injured list with a concussion.

Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., will make his third straight start but Riders head coach/GM Chris Jones has rotated the Canadian with David Watford. The six-foot-five, 235-pound Bridge was 11-of-13 passing for 101 yards while rushing four times for 30 yards earlier this season versus Hamilton.


THIS 'N THAT: Of the 19 games played this season, 10 have been decided by 11 or more points . . . The CFL is regarded as a pass-happy league but seven teams are averaging 100 or more yards rushing per game while only two (Hamilton and Edmonton) are averaging over 300 yards passing . . . Montreal's Boris Bede (eight-of-eight) is the only kicker not to have missed a field goal . . . Toronto added former NFL running back/returner Dexter McCluster to its active roster. The five-foot-eight, 170-pound McCluster played six NFL seasons with Kansas City (2010-13), Tennessee (2014-15) and San Diego (2015). The 29-year-old was selected to 2013 Pro Bowl.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated the Alouettes were hosting the Stampeders.

Much-needed reinforcements coming soon for injury-plagued Toronto FC side