Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

QB Mitchell Went to Highest Bidder

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

QB Mitchell Went to Highest Bidder

Article excerpt

It was about the money. It was about his father, Bill, and the countless nights he had seen him walk into the house splattered from head to toe, a house painter his whole life. It was about his mother, Della, a receptionist who had spent every day putting everyone else first.

So Scott Mitchell sold out. And he doesn't mind saying so. He got as much as he could for his family, putting himself up for the highest bidder during a three-way telethon among the Lions, the Vikings and his agent on a Saturday in March.

"All along I said I wanted to go to a team that was committed to me being their starting quarterback. But it was important for me to get some security," said Mitchell. "I mean everyone can say, we love you, we want you to be here and all that. But it was important for me how (the deal) was structured."

He wanted money up front. He had seen too many guys asked to take pay cuts, too many veterans get waived. So the Mitchell auction started in the morning when the Vikings bumped their bonus up from $900,000 to $2.4 million.

But by late afternoon, the Lions presented an unmatchable $5 million bonus.

"That was important to me, and I was up front with everyone," Mitchell said. "I felt when it got right down to it, Detroit had the better offer."

The $5 million did it, no matter what Lions coach Wayne Fontes says. Fontes said his last-minute flight to visit Mitchell in Florida had something to do with Mitchell's decision. It sure looked impressive, and had people wondering why Vikings coach Dennis Green wasn't doing the same. Why wasn't he using his college-recruiting charms?

"(Fontes' visit) wasn't like the thing that swayed me. No," Mitchell said.

And he had nothing against the Twin Cities. Mitchell's wife actually preferred Minnesota. But the Lions were willing to do what the Vikings weren't: throw a fortune at a quarterback who had been as distinguishable as a palm tree in Miami until Dan Marino was injured last year.

"I kind of came into the league thinking that not a lot of people really want me and like my abilities and what I can do," he said. "Then when I got a chance to play, people were interested."

He revealed just enough in his seven starts to tantalize a quarterback-hungry market. …

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