Issues between Rioli and his former club date back to 2018 before the small forwards' early retirement, with poor treatment of his wife Shannyn, racism and mentions of gaslighting all listed as reasons behind Rioli's eventual decision to leave the club.
After Sunday's loss to Carlton, Mitchell reflected on the ongoing issues between the two parties and voiced his disappointment over the damaged relationship.
“It certainly saddens me,” Mitchell said.
“I have reached out to him over the last few months, trying to get him to reconnect back with the club and to show him some of the things we are doing now to try and improve in this area.”
Interactions between the Rioli family and Hawthorn president Jeff Kennet were said to be the defining problem, causing Rioli to lose passion for the game and eventually retire at the age of 29.
Mitchell also expressed his compassion for Rioli and voiced how appreciated he was throughout his time at the club, as well as commenting on his wishes for the club and Rioli to put aside differences and make amends, despite acknowledging that it may not happen any time soon.
“I think I am like every other Hawthorn person who thinks back to the Cyril that we all loved, whenever you think of Cyril not being happy that is going to make anyone sad and disappointed and I'm no different,” Mitchell said.
“Hopefully we can welcome him back into the fold at some stage but at the moment you have got to respect his wishes that he is not willing to do that just yet.”
Rioli is currently living in Darwin working with indigenous youth. After spending time with Northern Territory Thunder, a return to the AFL landscape could be on the cards for the 32-year-old, although he has already ruled out Hawthorn as a potential option.
The four-time premiership Hawk claimed three All-Australian selections and a Norm Smith Medal across his 11-year, 189-game career with the Hawks.