Esks steamed at Leo's Mitchell
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
|Offensive linemen Simeon Rottier, left, puts on an Eskimo Jersey with help from Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed after announcing he signed a multi-year contract with the Eskimos on Friday, Feb. 3. Rottier was injured in Friday's game against the B.C. Lions. (Amber Bracken/QMI Agency)
EDMONTON - There are offensive linemen, then there are offended linemen.
The Edmonton Eskimos fall under the second category following a play by B.C. Lions defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell on Friday that belonged in a pro wrestling ring instead of a CFL gridiron.
The six-foot-five, 315-pound Mitchell was seen taking Eskimos left guard Simeon Rottier's arm and torquing it across his body, appearing to hyperextend the elbow at the end of the half in Friday's game.
"That wasn't the best-feeling thing in the world, no," Rottier said in the visitors locker-room of BC Place Stadium after spending the second half on the sideline with his arm bandaged. "It was pretty frustrating and I'm pretty sore right now."
The full extent of the injury was not known following the game, but Rottier is trying to remain optimistic he won't have to join two other projected starters, left tackle Joel Bell and right guard Greg Wojt, on the nine-game injured list.
"I think I'll be all right. I'll just go through the treatment that I need to do and make sure everything's good," said Rottier, the first-overall draft pick in 2009 who was picked up by his hometown Eskimos in the off-season.
He was replaced by Brian Ramsay on Friday night, thanks to Mitchell, who told reporters after the game that it was a football play that occurred between whistles with no intent to injure.
But Rottier disagrees.
"I was trying to finish my block and got in a vulnerable position," said Rottier, who remained on the ground getting looked at by training staff before walking off the field on his own. "He was able to grab my arm and just tried to rip it off.
"We all play hard to the whistle. A blatant attempt to injure like that is kind of shocking."
And not only to the Eskimos, as the players found out at halftime and after the game, when their cell phones blew up with tweets and texts from friends, family and fellow CFLers watching on TV.
"I didn't see it, but everybody checks in their e-mail and it says that was dirty," said free-agent acquisition Belton Johnson, who made his first start with the Eskimos Friday playing right guard. "My fiancee had texted me. I don't like to talk dirty, but this is what she said."
Expressing her shock at what she saw with words that weren't all fit for print, Johnson said the message was clear: "He should be suspended."
"I got like three people texting me during the game or after the game how bad it was," added right tackle Dylan Steenbergen. "You see it on TV, just wrenching his arm back."
But the Eskimos aren't about to get all up in arms until the league gets its say.
"In situations like this the film usually speaks for itself, so the less said the better," said Eskimos general manager Eric Tillman. "There's a proper protocol and, accordingly, I expressed our strong concerns to Tom Higgins (director of officiating) and Kevin McDonald (vice-president of football operations) on behalf of our club during the game and afterward, too.
"Kavis (Reed) will speak to the appropriate parties as well on Saturday. Then, we will let the league office review the film and we will respect their judgement."