Thursday, April 19, 2018
BO-LEVI THE FOCUS OF STAMPEDERS TELECONFERENCE
The Calgary Stampeders quarterback has worked with Jeff Peach, a former Canadian baseball player turned athletic therapist, on his throwing mechanics in recent weeks. While that might seem somewhat unconventional, Mitchell points out Tom Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, has tabbed baseball personnel to enhance his throwing mechanics.
"They understand the shoulder,'' Mitchell said during a conference call Wednesday. "(Jeff) knows so much mechanically about the shoulder, about the preservation of it.
"I'm not changing my mechanics at all. I'm still going to throw the exact same. It was about spending the proper amount of time during the off-season on strengthening my shoulder and the small muscles in my shoulder and not spending so much time on your bigger muscles like your abs, your biceps. It's really just diving in and committing myself to the health of my shoulder and making sure it was strong.''
The health of Mitchell's shoulder was an issue last year. After the season, it was revealed Mitchell played most of 2017 with small tears in the shoulder and also had elbow issues that forced the Stampeders to reduce his practice reps and conserve his throwing arm for games.
Despite that, Mitchell threw for 4,700 yards with 23 touchdowns and led Calgary to a CFL-best 13-4-1 record. Fortunately for the Stampeders, Mitchell, the league's top player in 2016, didn't require off-season surgery.
Entering the final year of his contract, Mitchell has been throwing pain-free indoors. He's ready to take it outside whenever the snow finally disappears from Calgary.
"I was able to get out there and kind of push it in rehab,'' Mitchell said. "Things are definitely moving in the right direction.''
The 28-year-old from Katy, Texas, also got rid of his Twitter account, much to the delight of Calgary president/GM John Hufnagel.
Mitchell routinely bantered with opposing players and fans and last year was fined by the league for violating its social media policy. Mitchell has no plans to reactivate his Twitter account.
"I just wanted to kind of rein in the focus and make sure I'm giving myself and my team everything I have,'' he said. "I'm already doing a radio show so anything I need to talk about or say can be put out there.
"I felt with the negativity and whatnot trending towards social media these days, I thought it would be a good time to get off and I thought Huff would like that too.''
`"Amen,'' chimed in Hufnagel, who then joked: "If Bo completes the 12-month non-Twitter, I'll start getting into (contract) negotiations with him.''
The collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players is scheduled to expire in 2019. The league has told teams not to pay off-season bonuses until a new agreement is reached, which impacts contract negotiations.
"Right now, we have a year left on the contract and my job, the only thing I can take care of, is to focus on this year of football and play the absolute best I can so they want to re-sign me,'' Mitchell said.
Mitchell boasts an impressive 56-10-2 record as a CFL starter. Entering his fifth season as No. 1 quarterback, Mitchell needs less than 1,000 yards to hit the 20,000-yard plateau.
Mitchell has led Calgary to the Grey Cup game three of the last four years. He was named the MVP of the club's 20-16 win over Hamilton in 2014 but the Stampeders have been upset by the Ottawa Redbacks and Toronto Argonauts the past two seasons.
A Calgary trademark has been continuity in both the coaching ranks and player-personnel department. But this off-season the Stampeders have seen some players leave in free agency while releasing or dealing others due to salary-cap restrictions.
Starting safety Josh Bell retired to become the club's defensive backs coach. Sack specialist Charleston Hughes was traded to Hamilton and subsequently to Saskatchewan while running back Jerome Messam signed with the Roughriders in free agency.
Veteran fullback Rob Cote hung up his cleats after 11 productive seasons with Calgary.
Earlier this week, running back/returner Roy Finch was arrested in Oklahoma for allegedly assaulting a police officer. Finch, the CFL's top special-teams player last season, signed a two-year contract with Calgary in February prior to the start of free agency.
The five-foot-seven, 165-pound Finch, of Niceville, Fla., appeared in 13 games with Calgary in 2017. He registered career highs in rushing yards (114), receiving yards (133) and punt return yards (1,200) while returning three punts for TDs. He also added 696 kickoff return yards.
Hufnagel didn't have more information Wednesday regarding whether Finch will report to training camp May 20.