Passing the bucks

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos released Mookie Mitchell and Pat Woodcock on Sunday afternoon after Day 1 of main training camp.

But relax. It's no time to panic if you are an Eskimos fan.

It was just a paper move because both veteran receivers have restructured their contracts with the Green and Gold, the Sun has learned.

"Their contracts have been adjusted and so you have to delete them to put a new contract in place," said Eskimos president Rick LeLacheur.

"It's a technicality. You release them just before the 2 p.m. deadline, then a few minutes after the deadline, you put their new contract in."

Deadlines for such moves exist every day. Both players were at camp yesterday.

In the world of a $4.05 million CFL salary cap, the new deals aren't surprising.

Battling for the main non-import receiving job, Woodcock admits he took a pay cut.

"I was excited about coach (Jacques) Chapdelaine's offence," said Woodcock, a seven-year CFL veteran. "I'm excited about the guys that we have on this team and I feel like this is a good opportunity to get back to the playoffs, to get a chance to go win another Grey Cup."

Woodcock is scrapping with off-season acquisition Kamau Peterson for the main non-import assignment.

"You want to have guys pushing for positions," continued Woodcock. "It is going to make each and every one of us better."

Mitchell is considered by some to be on the bubble in this Eskimo camp.

An 11-year CFL vet, the 35-year-old import is going against younger import recruits like Patrick Johnson (30 years old), Fred Stamps (25), Kendrick Starling (27) and Taco Wallace (26).

"The decision is going to have to come from the coaching staff," said Mitchell. "All I can do is run the plays they call and execute it to the best of my ability."

To the naked eye at practice, Mitchell seems to be behind Johnson, Jason Tucker and Trevor Gaylor on offence. But Mitchell is actually learning Tucker's position in the new offence designed by Chapdelaine.

"They want to look at some of the younger guys at certain positions," remarked Mitchell. "The position that Tucker is playing, they want a veteran behind him because I guess that is the main route.

"So if something was to happen they would want a vet to be able to step in there and know that system."

Known for his sure hands, Mitchell is averaging 989 receiving yards per season over the last three years - and he missed two games last season with a hamstring injury.

As for the restructured contract, Mitchell isn't going to raise a stink.

"I have never been the type of guy that wanted to make a big fuss about money," he said.

"I'm not going to fuss about money because it is only going to bring on bad blood.

"I wanted to be here and we restructured the deal."


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