Saturday night will be Bo Levi Mitchell’s 165th regular season game in a Calgary Stampeders’ uniform but it will also likely be his last time playing at McMahon Stadium while donning the red and white.
“I’ve played a lot of times in this stadium and it won’t be the last time I play in this stadium,” Mitchell said to the media after practice on Friday.
The two-time Most Outstanding Player, who was benched in Week 12 for second-year pivot Jake Maier, is listed second on the depth chart for Calgary’s regular-season finale against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Stampeders are locked into the third seed in the West Division playoffs while the Riders were eliminated from playoff contention a week ago. Calgary is unlikely to play their starters for the entire game, giving Mitchell the chance to get a hero’s send-off at the place he has called home for a decade.
“I would always want to for the fans,” Mitchell said of getting some game action for the first time since a 22-19 win over the Toronto Argonauts in August.
Mitchell also knows that sometimes things don’t go the way you hope and there is a possibility he does not see the field on Saturday.
“I’ve talked to Dave and I told him I don’t need a ‘hoo-rah’ moment. I just want to be here for this team, in the playoffs or in the Grey Cup, so I’m able to help this team win,” Mitchell stated.
“I’m not going to be offended if I don’t get in. I want to see us play good football and I just want to be ready to help this team win a Grey Cup.”
Despite the way that Mitchell’s career is ending with the only professional franchise he has known, the two-time Grey Cup Most Valuable Player understands this is the nature of professional sports.
“Sports is a marriage but you’re always going to get divorced,” Mitchell said. “It’s just one of those things so you definitely have to handle yourself the way you want to be perceived the rest of your life.”
“I could act like a child or I could act like a professional. I’ve always acted like a professional when it comes to my job. I’m just going to continue to handle myself that way.”
Mitchell has spent his entire 10-year CFL career with the Stampeders, leading the team to two Grey Cup championships in 2014 and 2018, while also guiding them to two other Grey Cup appearances in 2016 and 2017. The team’s all-time leader in passing yards was also a backup on the Stampeders team that lost to the Toronto Argonauts in 100th Grey Cup in 2012.
You get the sense from Mitchell’s words that he knows the end is near for him in Calgary, as the two-time Grey Cup Most Valuable Player took time to reflect on his years with the Stampeders.
“I’m not me and 19 doesn’t mean as much without everyone I played with. I’ll never say a bad thing about anybody in this organization. I’ve loved every minute I’ve been here,” said Mitchell to teammate Jameer Thurman, who highjacked Mitchell’s media availability to the delight of those in attendance.
But the two-time league all-star ended things with a wry smile and an ominous word for his likely soon-too-be former teammate.
“And I look forward to every minute I get to play against you, too.”