Derrell Mitchell - Wide Receiver -1997-03- Texas Tech
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
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.
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.
Toronto, has only hit the century mark one other time in his career. He had exactly 100 catches in 2000.
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.
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