Cutdown day always results in a wide range of emotions.
For those who receive the unwanted summons to the coach’s office, it’s the end of — or at least a delay in — the dream of playing professional football.
For others, it’s the day all those years of toil finally pay off.
For instance, there’s Bo Levi Mitchell — a rookie out of Texas via Eastern Washington University who earned the No. 3 quarterback job with a solid training camp.
During the pre-season, Mitchell completed 11 of 17 passes for 128 yards and led the Stamps on the final-minute drive that led to a game-winning field goal against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina on Friday.
“The fans were screaming so loud that you have to yell as loud as you can for the centre to hear you,” said Mitchell. “That’s as fun as it gets. That’s the way football is supposed to be played. It’s not supposed to be easy.
"It’s a hard game and when you’ve got loud fans like that, it makes it that much more fun to get the win because you feel like you’ve really earned it.”
“Very pleased with Bo and his two performances,” said head coach and general manager John Hufnagel. “He showed the makings of a quarterback who has a real good chance to play in this league.”
Mitchell is in an ideal setting for his CFL apprenticeship — Hufnagel and offensive coordinator Dave Dickenson are former quarterbacks while the other two players on the QB depth chart — Drew Tate and Kevin Glenn — have a combined 16 seasons of pro experience.
“You learn from them,” said Mitchell. “You take everything those vets know and you put it to use. You go out there and try and learn everything you can.
“You get in Coach Dave’s head, Coach Huff’s head and make sure they know you’re in it all the time and show the guys that you’re always working to be out there. And then, when you’re out there, to take advantage of your opportunity. That’s really my ultimate goal, whether it’s (holding) on field goals or short yardage . . . whatever I’ve got to do to help the team win.”
Though happy to make the cut, Mitchell realizes the real work is only beginning.
“Something that Coach Huff pointed out this morning is, ‘Don’t get relaxed; don’t get complacent.’ I’m going to keep working,” said Mitchell. “Like a lot of these guys, I’ve been wanting to play professional football since I was a little kid. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of — playing in front of the fans, under the lights and seeing your team ahead on the scoreboard as the last second goes away.
“Now that I’m here, I’m not going to sit back — I’m going to keep working hard and striving to keep getting better.”
Among the other CFL rookies on the Stamps roster are defensive backs Fred Bennett and Keenan MacDougall, linebackers Chris Randle and Deron Mayo and offensive lineman Na’Shan Goddard. Four other freshmen — defensive back Jamar Wall, running back Matt Walter, receiver Joe West and linebacker Marvin White — are on the practice squad.
“It was a tough day yesterday,” said Hufnagel of the roster deadline. “We brought in a lot of competition and I thought it was demonstrated throughout training camp and the two pre-season games, so the decisions were very hard but (they were) well-though-out decisions and hopefully we made the right decisions.”