Bryant Mitchell got a new lease on his football life and a new quarterback recently.
The former Edmonton Eskimos receiver, who’s coming off an Achilles injury that cost him all of last season with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been re-signed by the Bucs and he will get another shot at his dream of making an NFL roster once he’s healthy.
“I’m seven months post surgery,” said Mitchell from his home in California. “I started running in January — well, I wouldn’t call it running; speed walking, to an extant – now I’m running full-speed routes, now I’m jumping, I’m cutting, doing everything I could do before.
“I am just getting my strength back, getting my speed back. Everything else is full go.”
Mitchell’s “full go” is pretty good.
When he was with the Eskimos, he had trouble getting into the lineup at first due to the talent ahead of him and injuries. Once he got in, they couldn’t take him out.
Over four seasons with the team, he played 19 games and had 1,418 receiving yards and six touchdowns. In 2018, he became a game- breaker, with 60 catches for 867 yards in 11 games.
His highlight game? Oct. 13, 2018 versus Ottawa. Thirteen receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown. His best memories of the CFL, though, revolve around his teammates
“Watching my teammates doing things, me getting excited about them and them getting excited about me, that was the best part of the CFL for me.
“We had the time of our lives as a group of receivers. I learned so much from those guys. I had so much fun with those guys. They truly became my family.”
Mike Reilly was Mitchell’s quarterback while he was an Eskimo. In Tampa Bay, he will be working with Tom Brady, who has moved south after 20 years and six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
Naturally, Mitchell is looking forward to getting on the field with one of the greatest ever.
“It’s so exciting. He is truly the best to ever throw a football, in my opinion.
“Just to have him around to be able to pick his brain and just to be able to say: ‘I got to play with that guy,’ it’s such a blessing, not only what he brings in his knowledge but what he brings in his mentality.
“He has that Mamba mentality like Kobe had and he will help us make a run to a championship.”