December 8, 2010

Saints sign veteran LB Mitchell

The Saints signed free agent veteran LB Kawika Mitchell to their 53-man roster on Wednesday, replacing Ladell Betts.

Mitchell, 31, 6'1, 253, a second round pick of the Chiefs in 2003, worked out for the Saints recently.  Since the loss of second year LB Stanley Arnoux, the Saints have signed two linebackers, Mitchell and Ramon Humber.

After four seasons in Kansas City, Mitchell, played one season for the Giants in 2008, where he started at weakside linebacker for the Super Bowl XLII champions.  Mitchell collected eight tackles, a sack, and a quarterback hurry in the Super Bowl.

He left New York in free agency and signed a five year contract with the Bills worth nearly $18 million in the 2008 offseason.  After a decent 2008 season, he played in five games for the Bills in 2009 and was lost at the start of the 2010 season to a Lisfranc injury. 

The Bills cut him from injured reserve in October, making him a free agent. Mitchell also fought a quadriceps injury and surgery during this past offseason. 

He did not fit in well with the Bills' 3-4 defensive alignment, where he played inside linebacker.  Mitchell is expected to provide depth to the Saints, with Anthony Waters still fighting an ankle injury.

Mitchell, a native of Honolulu, Hawai'i, was raised in Florida after moving because his father served in the US Army.  His first name is pronounced with an emphasis on a v sound instead of a w. 

In the 2003 draft, Mitchell was picked 10 slots after the Saints passed on him for Georgia T Jon Stinchcomb.  Mitchell, a transfer from Georgia to USF, was picked 47th overall.  The Chiefs also selected current Saint DE Jimmy Wilkerson in that draft.

On his twitter site, Mitchell said farewell to Bills fans and greeted Saints fans: "I appreciate the love. Especially from all the Buffalo Bills fans. You didn't have to show love but you are and it's much appreciated... Good to have a new home. Gotta thank the Saints for giving me this opportunity. Ready to do whats needed to help defend the title. Also ready to get rid of this stored up aggression. Can't wait! It's been too long. Saints fans where you at... WHO DAT NATION let's get it"

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