Stampeders Notes: Mitchell recovering from shoulder procedure
BLUE MOUNTAIN, Ont. — Bo Levi Mitchell is recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Calgary Stampeders quarterback had a cyst removed from his throwing shoulder last month and it’s possible that he could miss the start of training camp.
The Stamps are optimistic that he’ll be available, but neither head coach Dave Dickenson or president/GM John Hufnagel would fully commit to that.
“Bo had a little bit of a shoulder procedure done trying to fix what’s been bothering him for the last couple years,” Hufnagel said Tuesday at the CFL’s annual winter meetings. “He went to doctors in L.A. Everything went very, very well and right now he’s ahead of schedule. We’re hoping for the best and that he can get some work done during training camp, but it’s wait-and-see.”
Mitchell missed seven games with a torn pectoral muscle last season and had a cyst reduced during that period. He insisted late in the season that he felt healthier than he ever had in September or October, but ultimately it was decided that he’d be best-off undergoing this most recent procedure at the start of the off-season.
With the Stamps trading backup Nick Arbuckle to the Ottawa Redblacks last week, having Mitchell available at the start of the 2020 season will be imperative.
“I saw Bo, he actually looks pretty good,” Dickenson said. “There were some things with his shoulder joint that we felt could get cleaned up. I’m not going to jump onboard to say 100% yes or no (that he’ll be at camp). I would expect him to be there, but it’s still January. He says he feels good, though.”
On Twitter, everybody wanted the Stampeders to release Tre Roberson so that he could go pursue NFL opportunities.
Everyone wants what’s best for players, and everyone wanted Roberson to have the chance to pursue his dream and earn a lucrative paycheque from an NFL team.
It was sometimes forgotten, however, how difficult a decision it was for the Stampeders. When the NFL window was effectively cancelled, president/GM John Hufnagel had to decide whether to give up a year of Roberson’s contract by releasing him. Given the time they’d spent developing him into an all-star, that was not an easy decision.
Ultimately, though, Hufnagel decided to let Roberson go.
“I was trying to wait as long as I possibly could for a decision to be made by all the different parties that were involved and I made a decision that, because of Tre’s age (27), I didn’t think this window of opportunity would be there the following year,” Hufnagel said. “He has so much interest that I made a decision to let him go and try it out. I’m hoping, it was a very difficult decision and obviously, I can’t make that decision for everybody and I’ll probably upset some people in the future.”
Roberson certainly wasn’t the only player affected by the NFL window not materializing — Nate Holley is likely another example — and the Stampeders had to be conscious of setting a precedent.
“I’m sure it wasn’t easy on Huf to make that call, sometimes you have to make decisions that aren’t popular if you think it’s right,” Dickenson said. “I had a bite with (Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Craig Dickenson and GM Jeremy O’Day) and when one team does something it has a ripple effect on the league.
“Tre’s been a real solid player and he’s one of those guys who is easy to root for … I think he was willing to make Calgary his home, but when that many NFL teams come knocking you want to take that opportunity.”
The Stampeders are still very much in the process of figuring out what their roster is going to look like in 2020.
That means they’ve got a few tough decisions to make, including whether to re-sign Canadian receiver Juwan Brescacin. The team may be in a position where they can start four American receivers, and with the emergence of Canadian rookie Hergy Mayala that might mean that there’s no starting spot for Brescacin.
“I’ve had some minor discussions with (Brescacin’s) agent but right now we’re waiting until closer to free agency so I can see what the market is for certain things and then what direction do you take?” Hufnagel said. “The thing with paying a Canadian receiver, he should be a starter, and that, right now, to me, is the catching point. Is Juwan going to be our starter? If he is our starter, it’s a no-brainer. If he’s not our starter, that’s a lot of money.”
To be clear, the Stampeders would like to have Brescacin back. He’s got high-end potential and despite only playing in four games last year because of injuries, he could be primed for a breakout year.
They just need to make the numbers work.
“I want Bresc back,” Dickenson said. “The market is interesting for Canadian receivers, I’m not positive what Lemar Durant got paid but Lemar had a really good year. There’s a lot of good Canadian receivers out there and I think that’s been a strength of the CFL lately. I would love to have Bresc back and I’d like him to stay active in negotiations.”
The Stampeders are also trying to figure out their offensive line.
They’ve re-signed Ucambre Williams and have good Canadian depth, but they have decisions to make about starting tackles Derek Dennis and Nila Kasitati.
Dennis will be more expensive, and that could be a factor.
“We’re not in negotiations yet, we wanted to get the younger guys signed first and see how much the other guys cost,” Hufnagel said. “Derek is still in the picture, but Derek is going to be a big-ticket item. He’s made that very very clear and I have to be prepared if we’re not able to get to that number.”
In other news, the Stampeders re-signed running back Ka’Deem Carey on Tuesday. It’s quite possible that he will start the season as their No. 1 option.