Bo Levi Mitchell discussed shoulder surgery rehab with Matt Nichols, Travis Lulay

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Bo Levi Mitchell will enter the upcoming CFL season coming off surgery that he underwent to repair a shoulder injury that held him out of seven games in 2019. His arm strength never wavered, but he’s been working to ensure his deep ball remains accurate.

“The zip was there,” said Mitchell in a videoconference. “It was finding the touch on the distance again. I think the zip was there as soon as I was able to start throwing again right out of the gates. The zip felt good. It felt like I was able to throw the ball hard.”

Mitchell returned to the lineup in September and led the Stampeders to a 7-2 record over the second half of the 2019 season. He struggled in the postseason, however, completing just 12-of-28 attempts for 116 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in a 35-14 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the West Semi-Final.

“Throwing zip on the ball isn’t that hard. It’s when you get that Michael Vick — that external rotation, getting cocked back there to really throw it deep — that’s what I kind of had to re-find: that touch. When I talked to Matt Nichols, it was the same thing for him. It was finding that touch again and dropping the ball in the bucket.”

Matt Nichols suffered a significant shoulder injury to his throwing arm during a 32-16 victory over the B.C. Lions in August 2019. He spent six week trying to rehabilitate the injury without undergoing surgery but ended up needing a procedure, which ended his season.

Nichols isn’t the only veteran quarterback with whom Mitchell has discussed his recovery from surgery, having also spoken to Travis Lulay. The longtime B.C. Lions’ pivot retired in February 2019 after undergoing a number of operations over the course of his ten-year CFL career, including shoulder surgery in 2013.

“Lulay was definitely a big help when talking to him about some post-surgery stuff and you look at him, he’s a physical specimen,” said Mitchell. “The guy takes care of his body better than anybody, so I definitely leaned on him when it came to a lot of that.”

Mitchell has also shed weight ahead of the upcoming season and now weighs under 200 pounds. He was listed at 206 pounds in 2019 and as high as 210 pounds during earlier seasons of his career.

“As you get older, Father Time will catch up to you faster if you’re not taking care of your body,” said Mitchell. “With a cancelled season, why not get into the best shape I can possibly be in so I can be the best quarterback that I can possibly be?”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.