Appeals exhausted, Lions' Mitchell finally set to serve suspension

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 earlier this season. Mitchell will serve a two-game suspension for a reckless act against Edmonton's Simeon Rottier. (REUTERS)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

EDMONTON - It took four weeks, but Khalif Mitchell will finally begin serving his suspension.

The B.C. Lions defensive tackle was suspended for two games by CFL commissioner Mark Cohon following what was determined to be an unnecessary, reckless act against Edmonton Eskimos offensive lineman Simeon Rottier in a game on July 20.

Official mumbo-jumbo jargon aside, his arm-bar style move caught on camera after the play against an off-balance opponent belonged in an MMA octagon instead of a football gridiron.

But that didn't stop Mitchell from launching an appeal, which allowed him to continue playing while the matter went in front of an arbitrator.

Until now, that is, after the decision was made to uphold the original two-game suspension.

"Oh, good," said Rottier, who learned of the decision while staying late after Wednesday's practice to put some extra work in with a team trainer. "That's great. OK."

But the news comes as small consolation for Rottier, who has been on the mend ever since and may not even return to active duty before Mitchell is allowed back.

"It was pretty frustrating, I guess," Rottier said. "I was trying to not let it get to me. My position from the beginning was to try to move on.

"But you want to see (the league) do the right thing."

So Rottier took the opportunity to get involved in Mitchell's appeal.

"I was part of the hearing, so I phoned in for that to give my side of the story," Rottier said. "It's just a hassle to be going through all that."

On top of the hassle of rehabbing his elbow, that is, which is no doubt worth more than two weeks to the Eskimos left guard.

"The league, that's what they decided to do. I don't want to comment on that," said Rottier, who has already spent twice that time on the game-to-game injured list. "I don't know how long it would be, either."

While he has slowly been getting back into the swing of things, he still isn't participating on the field with his teammates.

"It's good to be out there running some drills," said Rottier, who keeps himself busy on the sidelines and running stairs. "I was hoping to play this weekend -- probably hoping to play last weekend. So hopefully (next week) in Toronto. We're going week to week."

Mitchell was kept from the media on Wednesday, with all requests going to Lions general manager Wally Buono, aside from a press release issued from the club following the decision: "I accept the decision of the arbitrator and I am grateful for having had the opportunity to go through the process of an appeal."

As is Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed, despite the time lost to Rottier.

"Due process, right?" Reed said. "He had his rights based on the situation and we went through the process. You want everyone to have the ability to exercise his rights and he did that.

"I don't fault (Mitchell) or begrudge him for using what is available in the system."

IN AND OUT: CB Joe Burnett had the day off of practice but will play on Friday. Also sitting out were DT Almondo Sewell, FB Peter Thiel and DT Ted Laurent (ankle), who -- contrary to popular belief -- is not suffering from stomach abrasions from too many hungry-man sack celebrations.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca

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