Football Icon Bobby Mitchell Passes Away

Civil Rights Activist and NFL Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell passed away Sunday

Bobby Mitchell, the Hall of Fame Halfback/Flanker who became the first black player in the history of the Washington Redskins, passed away yesterday afternoon. He was 84 years old.

In a tweet, the Washington Redskins said, “Bobby Mitchell will absolutely be remembered for his play on the field. But he should be equally celebrated for his dedicated activism off the field to pave the way for generations to come.”

Redskins’ Owner Dan Snyder also released a statement saying, “I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell. Bobby was a Hall of Fame player and executive and represented the Washington Redskins organization with integrity for over 50 years. His passion for the game of football was unmatched by anyone I have ever met. Not only was he one of the most influential individuals in franchise history, but he was also one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was a true class act and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gwen and the entire Mitchell family during this time.”

Mitchell played in the NFL from 1958-1968. He spent the first three years of his career with the Cleveland Browns and then was traded to the Washington Redskins for the rights to RB Ernie Davis. Mitchell was one of three black players on the Washington Redskins’ roster in 1962, making them the last team in the NFL to be fully integrated. After Mitchell retired from playing in 1968, he joined Washington’s front office in 1969 and remained a fixture in the Redskins’ organization until 2003, when he stepped away from the game.

Bobby Mitchell played 11 seasons in the NFL and accumulated 14,078 total net yards during his career. When he retired, Mitchell had wracked up the second most career net yards in NFL history. He was named to the All-NFL team three times and was elected to four Pro Bowls. Mitchell was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1983.