In case you were caught up with all the action of the NHL trade deadline, or lack there of, a Vancouver sports team other than the Canucks was active in trading away one of their all-star players. On Tuesday, the B.C. Lions traded away all-star import defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell to the Toronto Argonauts in exchange for import defensive end Adrian Awasom and the rights to a player on Toronto’s negotiation list.
Mitchell proved to be a valuable member of the Lions during the Grey Cup winning season of 2011 where he recorded 33 tackles and six sacks in 14 regular season games. It was Mitchell’s performance during the Lions 2011 season turnaround, which saw them win 11 of their last 13 games of the regular season, and in the 2011 CFL Playoffs that saw him become a West Division as well as a CFL all-star.
However, his performance last season, which ended in a disappointing Western Final loss to the Calgary Stampeders for the Lions, was certainly not up to the standards that Lions fans had become accustomed to. In 12 regular season games played, Mitchell was only able to produce 15 tackles and two sacks; suspensions and fines played a role in his lack of game action. Not to mention there was that incident with Edmonton Eskimos’s offensive lineman Simeon Rotteir which saw Mitchell suspended two games for hyperextending Rotteir’s arm in an altercation during gameplay.
Mitchell has no doubt been a handful for the Lions coaching staff in his two seasons with the team. In 2012, the club had benched Mitchell for one game due to an inappropriate racial comment which Mitchell had tweeted. The benching came after Mitchell had already been fined by the CFL for violating the league’s social media policy. Mitchell was also fined by the league for “throat slashing” gestures during a game against the Eskimos in 2012.
Mitchell’s actions on and off the field had also taken a toll on some of his own Lion teammates leaving them frustrated with the CFL all-star. Immediately after being traded to Toronto, ex-teammate Andrew Harris tweeted out, “Good riddance!!!!” which Harris later confirmed was about Mitchell.
It’s safe to say that as an organization as a whole, the B.C. Lions had become irritated and frustrated with a player that they had to continue to discipline. While a valuable asset when on the field, last year he was not on the field enough to produce. With this trade, the Lions may not be guaranteed the same talent level in return, but they have gotten rid of a player who may have become a big distraction to the team.
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