Lions the benchmark for Stampeders

BC Lions Defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell (R) celebrates a sack against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers...

BC Lions Defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell (R) celebrates a sack against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with teammate BC Lions defensive end Rajon Henley during the first half of their CFL football game in Vancouver, British Columbia last month. (REUTERS)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 PM ET

As horrific as the video evidence is concerning the latest infraction, the Calgary Stampeders offensive line doesn't seem worried about Khalif Mitchell.

Although the B.C. Lions defensive tackle was dinged for a two-game suspension for his arm-bar grab on Edmonton Eskimos guard Simeon Rottier last Friday, Mitchell will play Saturday at McMahon Stadium.

Due to an appeal filed Tuesday, the third-year Lion won't have his case heard by an independent arbitrator until Aug. 6.

Until the case is heard, Mitchell can keep playing.

No matter, the Stampeders say.

They are sure he won't try something as awful as that again.

"We all make mistakes," said Stamps left tackle Edwin Harrison. "I'm sure he will learn from this and come out and play hard.

"I have done things in football -- things I wouldn't have done if I wasn't caught up in the moment.

"It's one of those situations where I hope he learns from it. I hope he learns how to be a better player. Everyone knows he's a good player. We obviously can't have those things in this league. Those are the consequences."

There doesn't seem to be much evidence Mitchell will change his ways.

Over the weekend, Mitchell referred to the act as a football play, but nobody seems to agree with that assessment, certainly not league commissioner Mark Cohon.

And this isn't his first run-in with the CFL disciplinary committee.

During his first season, Mitchell was tossed from a game for punching Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Andre Douglas in the groin.

Certainly that act didn't compare with what he did against Rottier.

"It's an ugly play," Stamps left guard Steve Myddelton said. "You hate to see it happen. The league is right for the sanctions they imposed.

"It's not going to change how you play against him though. We will keep the same intensity and same techniques we've been using all year."

Some of those techniques used by offensive linemen get under the skin of their defensive counterparts.

It was clear Mitchell was annoyed with what he thought was holding on Rottier's part.

Stamps defensive tackle Corey Mace agrees there are tactics hoggies use that cross the line, but you need to be disciplined no matter what.

"You can get away with a lot during a play legally," Mace said. "You could embarrass him. It might not hurt, but if you blow by him on a pass rush and sack the quarterback, he's going to be worried about watching that on film.

"I understand as defensive linemen you get frustrated with offensive linemen holding you. You have to play with a cool head."

The presence of Mitchell obviously makes the Lions lineup better. The 2011 all-Canadian is developing into a force in the middle of the defensive line.

In a battle of 2-2 teams fighting for supremacy in the West Division, this is an important outing.

The Stamps want momentum heading into the bye week, and the Lions should be motivated coming off back-to-back losses.

"We want their best lineup," Harrison said. "If we get their best shot and are able to come out on top, that says a lot about our football team.

"We look at them as the benchmark. They are the champs. If we want to get to Toronto, we have to go through Vancouver. Everyone in the league knows that."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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