Two days before his first career NFL start, Dec. 14 against Minnesota, Mitchell was alerted he would be playing on the left side. He started two games before fracturing his fibula, which landed him on Injured Reserve.
Mitchell, who dropped 20 pounds during the off-season, is healthy and has been working extensively at left tackle. He recently spent a few minutes with Bear Report.
Do you feel the pressure going into camp as the starting left tackle?
"I feel I've got to prove to people I can do this. Who is this guy he's not going to do good we need to move John Tait over to left tackle. So I'm just proving everybody wrong. Like all the people on Bear Report they're like ‘I feel comfortable with Tait and (Aaron) Gibson on the right side.' So I just want to prove people wrong."
How do you deal with the fact that fans and reporters doubt you can handle the responsibilities at left tackle?
"You have to use it as motivation. If you get annoyed and worry about it then it'll carry onto the field and then you mess up. So in the end you help them to tell the truth."
There could be four new starters on the offensive line from the opener a year ago. How will the cohesion of the line form with that big of a turnover as opposed to working in one new starter?
"It's always good to be with a line from the beginning so you can jell, instead of coming in for a starter and then everybody is used to how he plays, then I come in and take his spot, it can be an adjustment."
When did you know you wanted to play football professionally?
"Everybody already told me ‘your going to play football when you grow up.' I was too big to play peewee, so I started playing about the 7th grade.
What's your most memorable football moment?
"When we were playing the Redskins and I pass was blocking on Bruce Smith and he tried to come inside and I punched him in his throat. It was pretty cool because he's going to the Hall of Fame."
Do you have any hobbies away from the field?
"Working out, especially this past off-season. I lost 20 pounds and I'm down to 350 pounds."
What kind of car do you drive?
"A 2005 Dodge Magnum, it goes real fast because it has a Hemi in it. I just got it three days ago."
Off-season Residence: Round Lake, Ill.
Favorite TV show: MTV Cribs.
Favorite movie: "Any Given Sunday. I like anything to do with football."
Favorite cartoon: Flintstone Kids
Roommate on the road: Jason McKie