The Calgary Stampeders are gearing up for a training camp scrimmage on Saturday, but don’t expect star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell out on the field.
Head coach Dave Dickenson said Friday that a number of veterans would sit out the event, but Mitchell is likely to be in street clothes longer than most. The star passer is dealing with some minor groin soreness and his head coach is taking every possible precaution.
“I’m probably not going to practice him again for a while,” Dickenson admitted. “I haven’t made up my mind at all on the backup guys and Bo’s got a little soreness too, so I’m going to let him just be smart with things. His groin is a little bit sore here and there.”
A two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player, Mitchell reached 60 career wins in just 72 starts, which is the fastest mark of any quarterback in league history, but struggled with injuries for the first time in 2019.
The 30-year-old left the Stamps’ Week 3 win against B.C. last season favouring his right arm, chest and shoulder area. Following the setback, the two-time Grey Cup champion was placed on the six-game injured list. It caused Mitchell to miss a start for the first time since 2014.
That unfortunate right shoulder setback limited him to 11 games in 2019. He passed for 3,464 yards with 19 touchdowns against 11 interceptions while completing 66 per cent of his attempts, opting for surgery in the off-season.
Mitchell’s lower body is now the issue, but the injury is reportedly nothing more than training camp wear and tear. The team is being overly cautious rather than risk losing their star quarterback for any length of team and Dickenson is using it to examine his backup competition.
Mitchell was already ceding reps to the promising group of Dakota Prukop, Jake Maier and Canadian Michael O’Connor last week to help the evaluation. Now he might not practice until the season starts.
“I just feel like I need to look at the other guys. I know what I’ve got with Bo, so I’m just going to bail again on him and let him tell me when he wants to get in there, but when I think he needs it,” Dickenson explained. “That could be just ramping up for the first game of the year, it’s really not important for me to see him out there.”
Given the 18-month hiatus since the Katy, TX native played a game, some will question how resting throughout training camp can possibly benefit the CFL’s star signal caller and his team. Dickenson believes it will and he’s willing to face the music if it doesn’t.
“Whether that’s the right call or not,” Dickenson said, “who knows. That’s what I’m going to do.”