It's game on for Argos' Mitchell

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

The long wait is finally over for Johnny Mitchell. It has been eight years since Mitchell last played in a regular-season game, but that will end tomorrow when he suits up for the Argos on the road against the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.

Mitchell, whose last regular-season game came as a tight end with the Dallas Cowboys in 1996, joined the Argos this year. The 33-year-old played in the pre-season and caught a touchdown pass, but was relegated to the practice roster at the start of the season because the Argos wanted to employ some younger slotbacks while he learned the position.

"I'm just excited to be out there," Mitchell said. "I think I have an advantage in this game being as fresh as I am."

Head coach Pinball Clemons said the team has tried three previous times to put Mitchell into the lineup, but injuries or off-field commitments prevented that.

"Now his time has come and it has come at the right time," Clemons said. "We could use a lift emotionally at this point."

Mitchell weighs 230 pounds, which is about 30 less than his playing weight in the NFL, and his blocking ability should help the Argos beef up their running game with feature back John Avery and provide added pass protection.

"I love blocking and I hope J.A. will have a great day," Mitchell said.

READY IF NEEDED

Argos backup quarterback Romaro Miller will be inserted quickly into tomorrow's game if starter Michael Bishop struggles.

"I don't wish failure on anybody, but if the opportunity presents itself, I've got to take advantage of it," Miller said. Miller played for a portion of the second-half in the 44-34 loss to Winnipeg last Saturday but failed to complete a pass in five attempts. The decision was made to put Bishop back in.

"I felt we did a couple of things in the game when I was in there, but through penalties they didn't show," Miller said.

DEFENCE IS READY

Defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler offered an honest assessment for his unit's undoing in the past three games relative to its results for most of the season, including a stretch of 15 consecutive quarters without giving up a touchdown.

"It's unreasonable to believe we can do that for 18 games, but is it reasonable to believe that we can still win football games? Yes," Stubler said. "We're going to change a little bit. We've got to get more aggressive."

LINEUP CHANGES

Defensive end Marvin Thomas (knee) goes to the injured list, replaced by Gabe Robinson, who missed the last game with a wonky knee ... Defensive back Clifford Ivory, who missed the last game with rib and leg problems, returns to the roster, supplanting Kris Aiken to the practice roster. Mitchell takes the roster spot of running back Skip Hicks, who left the team for personal reasons.


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