We’re bringing back the CFL Camp Countdown series, going team-by-team and relaying some of the most interesting comments made by coaches, executives and players on the CFL’s season-preview conference calls. First up, the B.C. Lions, who had a dominant 13-5 regular season but fell to Calgary in the West Final. President Dennis Skulsky, GM Wally Buono, head coach Mike Benevides and quarterback Travis Lulay spoke to the media on a conference call Wednesday. Here are the highlights from that discussion.
One of the most interesting offseason stories around the Lions revolves around a player who’s no longer with the club. That would be defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell, who was a huge force on the Grey Cup-winning defensive line in 2011, but ran into controversies both on and off the field in 2012 and was eventually traded to Toronto. Even that didn’t go particularly smoothly, as Mitchell initially said he wouldn’t report to the Argonauts before later changing his tune. The challenge Mitchell presents is one of evaluation: is the superb physical skill he showed at times in B.C. enough to make putting up with his controversial behaviour worthwhile? For the Lions, the answer appears to be “not any more.” When I asked Buono about why he made the deal, he said he has plenty of respect for Mitchell, but the team wanted to go in a different direction.
“Khalif is a great player, most of the time he’s a great guy, but sometimes he’s unpredictable,” Buono said. “We wanted a guy that was more predictable and over the long term, more dependable.”Read More »from CFL Camp Countdown: Lions look to move on with “more predictable” players