Bo Levi Mitchell and Dave Dickenson have spent eleven years together with the Calgary Stampeders and though the veteran quarterback plans to play elsewhere next season, he hopes to eventually reunite with his mentor as a coach.
“I told Dave for the last couple years no matter when that point does come that he’d be the first phone call I’d make because I’d love to coach for him, with him. He’s a guy that I’m still learning from and always will. Even though I’ve been here 10 years, I still haven’t soaked up all the information that that guy knows how to give out. His brain is much bigger than his head is. He’s a smart guy and a guy that I want to be around,” Mitchell told the media in Calgary.
Mitchell first joined the Stampeders in April 2012 fresh out of Eastern Washington University. Dickenson was in his second year as the team’s offensive coordinator and received a promotion to head coach in 2016 when John Hufnagel relinquished the role to become the team’s president.
The two have worked closely together throughout their long tenure in Calgary, which is almost unprecedented for a quarterback and coach in the CFL.
“Bo and I have a solid relationship, we’re always gonna be connected. I’m gonna let Bo do what Bo needs to do but he knows I’ve got his back and that at some point, I’d love to work with him either next year or down the road. He’s a guy that’s a Calgary Stampeder for life for me, so it is hard because there’s so much history and all that,” said Dickenson.
“I’ve read his comments, Bo is a competitor but life is life and sometimes there’s a turn you know you need to take. It’s a tough one and certainly something that we’ve done. I feel confident in our decision-making and the people above me and also as a staff that we were honest and upfront with everybody and we’re just trying to win football games.”
Mitchell lost the starting job to second-year quarterback Jake Maier in August and intends to test free agency this winter in order to become a starting quarterback elsewhere in the league. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are rumoured to be a potential destination for the two-time Most Outstanding Player, though free agency doesn’t get underway until February 2023.
The 32-year-old has dealt with a lingering shoulder injury over the past few years, limiting his effectiveness as a passer. Though the ailment caused him to doubt his future at times, he feels his shoulder is back to full health and has been for some time.
“To be a guy that relies solely on my right arm the way that (kicker) Rene (Paredes) relies on his right leg, when you injure that, that’s when things come into question. It didn’t respond the way I wanted it to in ’19 or ’21 and finally this off-season there was just a eureka moment, things changed, and all of a sudden the arm started coming back and feeling great and feeling strong,” said Mitchell.
“That light never went out — it just went down a little bit — but it definitely has been reinvigorated and the flame’s as big as it’s ever been, so I’m just excited to play football.”
Mitchell threw for 32,541 yards, 188 touchdowns, and 89 interceptions over 10 seasons with Calgary during which he became the club’s all-time leading passer.