Toronto Argonauts

 Derrell Mitchell - Wide Receiver -1997-03- Texas Tech

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Derrell "Mookie" Mitchell joined Toronto as a free agent for the 1997 season having been cut by the New Orleans Saints the previous season. Mitchell was an instant success with the defending Grey Cup champion Argos and had an incredible rookie season. He had 17 touchdowns and 1,457 receiving yards both club records for a rookie. The team went on to win the 1997 Grey Cup and Mitchell had a touchdown reception in the game. He was named the leagues rookie of the year and a CFL All-star.

 

Mitchell returned to Toronto in 1998 under a new offensive schemed focused specifically on his unique talents. Along with new quarterback Kerwin Bell, Mitchell shattered the CFL record for pass receptions.

 

**By Daryl Slade -- CFL.ca - Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Even in the pass-dominated Canadian Football League these days, Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell's record 160 pass receptions in 1998 is likely to stand tall for a very long time.

It's rare that a receiver makes eight or nine

 catches in a game more than a few times in a year, but Mitchell averaged just under nine for the entire 18-game schedule with the Toronto Argonauts in 1998 and romped for exactly 2,000 yards, third highest in league history.

To illustrate his incredible feat, one needs to look no further down the list than th
e second-highest reception total in CFL history - Calgary Stampeder Allen Pitts' total of 126 in 1994, when he set the record of 2,036 receiving yards.

To compare, the National Football League record is 143 catches by Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts in a 16-game season in 1995. Next most in the NFL is a distant 123.
 


Mitchell, 34, now in his second season with the Edmonton Eskimos after seven years with

 Toronto, has only hit the century mark one other time in his career. He had exactly 100 catches in 2000.


During that miraculous '98 season, Mitchell never caught less than four passes in a game. He had 16 catches, tied for the single-game league record with two others, for 220 yards in a 30-29 win over the Esks at Edmonton on Sept. 26. Ironically, he did not score one of his 10 touchdowns that day.

Mitchell also hit double figures six other times - 13 and 12 catches once each, 11 twice and 10 twice. He had one nine-catch game, and caught eight passes five times. He surpassed 100 yards eight times and once just missed with 98.

Surprisingly, despite the large number of catches, Mitchell failed to score touchdowns in 12 different games as the Argos had a mediocre 9-9 record for third place in the East Division and lost in the East semi-final to Montreal Alouettes. He scored four touchdowns in a 37-28 win over the B.C. Lions at Vancouver on September 12 and only one other time had two majors.

**

After the 1998 season Mitchell signed with the Chicago Bears and was one of the teams final training camp cuts. He returned to the club for the final 10 games of the season and put up 682 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. Mookie played on some bad Argonaut teams over the next few seasons catching passes from a revolving door of quarterbacks including: Jay Barker, Jim Ballard, Jimmy Kemp, Stanley Jackson, Michael Bishop and Reggie Slack. Mitchell was always a professional and put himself out in the community as the face of the team.

 

A perennial crowd favorite it was not a popular move when Mookie was released prior to the 2004 season. The club was looking to go in a new direction at receiver and determined that Mitchell and his contract did not fit into the teams plans. It was a sad end to an outstanding run as an Argonaut for Mitchell as he finished just short of Paul Masotti's club record for career receiving yards. However, Toronto went on to win the Grey Cup in 2004 and Mookie proved succesful with his new team the Edmonton Eskimos posting great totals for the Western franchise.

 

Edmonton went on to capture the Grey Cup in 2005 thanks in part to a big reception late in the fourth quarter by Mitchell to force overtime. 'Mookie' was released by Edmonton prior to the 2007 season and in July he was signed to the Argonauts practice roster.

 

Mitchell returned to Toronto in 2007 and concluded his career in front of the fans who never wanted to see him leave. He broke the clubs all-time reception yardage record as his playing career came to end after the '07 season.

 

-- statistics --

 

 

Derrell Mitchell   Texas Tech
  Receiving      
Yr Team C Yds Avg Lg TD
1997 Tor 77 1,457 18.9 71 17
1998 Tor 160 2,000 12.5 46 10
1999 Tor 39 682 17.5 74 7
2000 Tor 100 1,398 14.0 76 14
2001 Tor 78 1,376 17.6 66 6
2002 Tor 66 1,027 15.6 86 13
2003 Tor 64 741 11.6 56 6
2004 Edm 48 868 18.1 73 10
2005 Edm 94 1,207 12.8 49 5
2006 Edm 70 892 12.7 69 1
2007 Tor 25 366 14.6 70 1
Total 10 821 12,014 14.6 86 90
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