The Toronto Argonauts thought they made a major splash this offseason by acquiring defensive end Khalif Mitchell from the B.C. Lions, but that move that sent his rights to Toronto on April 2 has hit a major snag. Mitchell said Thursday that he wouldn’t report to the Argos.
“I’m not going to Toronto,” Mitchell told Sportsnet. “I’ve already made up my mind, I’m not going to Toronto. The reasons for not going to Toronto (is because) off the field, in this off-season right now, I started a business opportunity that I haven’t had and wanted for a long time.”
Mitchell went on to explain that this opportunity is with a herbal beverage and that he wouldn’t be able to move the business to Toronto. He also said he would be open to moves to Calgary, Edmonton or Saskatchewan.
“I really would just love to stay here on the West coast,” Mitchell added. “I played for San Francisco for two years, and you know what? I’m accustomed to the Pacific Ocean. I’m accustomed to everything that comes with being on the West coast – the time difference, the people, the style of life because east and west styles of life are different.”
All this comes after a rather tumultuous for the 6-foot-5, 315-pound defensive tackle. After winning the Grey Cup and being named to the CFL All Star team in 2011, Mitchell was suspended once for two games and fined twice in 2012. He earned the suspension for hyperextending Simeon Rottier’s arm during a game and then was fined for a throat-slash gesture and for an inappropriate tweet he wrote.
So with this news, his future is very much up in the air. He may not be the player he once was, but he’s only 27 and has a lot to offer any team when he’s focused. In 34 CFL games, Mitchell has 54 tackles and eight sacks. With his size and speed, he often forces opposing offensive lines to double-team him, making his team’s defensive line that much more dangerous.
The Argos have yet to comment on the situation, so it’s unsure at this point how it will shake out. If they’re smart, they’ll look to move him as soon as possible. If Mitchell doesn’t want to play in Toronto, chances are he isn’t going to change his mind. Best not to let this situation drag on any longer than it has to.