From his Ray-Ban sunglasses, signature assortment of headbands and Canadian Football League pedigree, Grey Cup champion quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is unequivocally the league’s hot-shot talent.
The former Eastern Washington star and Walter Payton Award winner who led the Eagles to a national title was named the CFL’s best player earlier this year by The Sports Network. He’s the face of the Calgary Stampeders.
Another ex-EWU quarterback, Matt Nichols, is also a veteran, leading the the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the West Division semifinals last season but falling to Mitchell’s Stampeders.
Now Mitchell, who returned last month from an injury and has the Stampeders on a four-game win streak, faces another former EWU star having the best year of his professional career: Vernon Adams.
Adams, who was a young redshirt quarterback at EWU in 2011 when Mitchell was a senior, is enjoying his first year as a bona fide starter in the league, swiftly turning the Montreal Alouettes into an East Division contender.
Adams and the Alouettes (7-6, 4-2 East) host Mitchell and the Stampeders (9-4, 5-2 West) on Saturday.
Adams, who was primarily a backup for his first three years in the CFL, has given his franchise a boost, electrifying the French-Canadian city with his feet and arm, much like he did in the Football Championship Subdivision and as a senior graduate transfer at Oregon.
Adams has completed 206 of 317 passes this season for 2,953 yards, 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also rushed for 332 yards and 11 touchdown on 68 carries.
Both Adams and Mitchell made recent headlines.
Adams was suspended for one game last week for swinging a helmet at Winnipeg Blue Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill, a former Central Washington standout.
“I understand my actions and what I did was wrong,” Adams told reporters Tuesday. “That’s not the way the CFL represents things. Or the way we’re coached here. I don’t want to show that I’m trying to fight that thing. I’m going to pay my dues.”
Mitchell made candid comments about his offseason workouts with NFL teams earlier this year.
According to Mitchell, per 3rddownnation.com, the Minnesota Vikings wanted to offer Mitchell a contract, but didn’t want him to supplant starter Kirk Cousins.
“I (told a Vikings employee), ‘Well, for one, I’ve never been anywhere in football and not won a championship as a starter,’ ” Mitchell said, per the CFL news website. “ ‘High school, D-I, D-IAA, now here in the CFL. Everywhere I’ve ever been, I’ve won a championship within the first three years I’ve been there. I can help you do that. I’m going to come in here, I’m going to take Kirk’s job.’
“He was like, ‘Oh, no, no, n-n-n-no, we don’t want you to take Kirk’s job. We want you to come in here, help him with his eyes, tell him what you see, do everything you can to make him a better quarterback. But we need a good quarterback room. We don’t want you to cause controversy.’ At that moment I was like, ‘Well, I’m not signing with the Minnesota Vikings.’ ”
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