With more than 32,000 passing yards in a decade of work on his resume, Bo Levi Mitchell has said farewell to the Calgary Stampeders.
But not goodbye to the Canadian Football League.
The former Eastern Washington University quarterback announced his impending departure on Monday, just one day after coming off the bench to rally his team in what became a 30-16 loss to British Columbia in the CFL’s West Division semifinal.
While Mitchell’s season is over, the B.C. victory means that two former Eagles – starting defensive halfback T.J. Lee III and backup quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. – will be with the Lions on Sunday when they play Winnipeg for the West title. Another former Eagle and CFL stalwart, Ryan Phillips, is the defensive coordinator for the Lions.
The winner earns the right to play on Nov. 20 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan, in the Grey Cup. Winnipeg is the two-time defending champion.
Earlier in the season, Mitchell became Calgary’s all-time leading quarterback and ended his 10-year career with the franchise with 32,541 yards. He lost his starting position at midseason to former UC Davis quarterback Jake Maier, and Mitchell hadn’t thrown a pass since Aug. 20 until the playoff game.
Mitchell finished 8 of 11 for 147 yards on Sunday, and he directed the Stampeders to a field goal and a touchdown in the fourth quarter in relief of Maier. Calgary trailed 20-6 late in the third quarter.
“It was fun to get back out there, but I just wish we could have made it happen there at the end,” Mitchell said at a news conference Monday.
Calgary is committed to Maier for the next two years, which led to Mitchell’s announcement via Instagram earlier on Monday. Mitchell is set to be a free agent in February .
“I will always look back on these days, good or bad, and smile,” Mitchell said in his post. “The tough times made the great ones so sweet! Thank you to all the fans and season ticket holders through the years that supported us. To all my teammates that wore the Red and White, THANK YOU! It will never be lost on me how lucky was to share the field with you!”
The 2011 Walter Payton Award winner at EWU after helping the Eagles win the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship, Mitchell has earned the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player honor twice in his illustrious career. He also led Calgary to a pair of Grey Cup titles and was the game’s MVP in both.
He played in 165 regular-season games for Calgary, and completed 64% of his 3,866 career passing attempts for 32,541 yards, 188 touchdowns and 89 interceptions. Those totals don’t include the 17 playoff games (9-8 record) the Stampeders have played in the past decade with Mitchell on the roster.
Mitchell expects to spend the offseason gauging the interest of others teams in the league. He expects to be with another club next spring when training camps begin.
“Yes, I’m closer to the end of my career than the start,” Mitchell said the week before the playoff game. “But I feel healthy and ready to play a few more years in the league.”
“I want to be a starter and I’ll never accept sitting back and watching somebody else play,” he told reporters at the Monday news conference. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m keeping my head up, staying confident and looking forward to playing football.”
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