Washington Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell passed away on Sunday at 84. His cause of death was not disclosed. Mitchell became the first African American player to play for the Redskins after the Cleveland Browns traded for the then halfback in 1962. Once with the skins, Mitchell was moved to the flanker position where he led the league in receptions (72) and receiving yards (1,384) in his first year with the team.
He played with the Redskins until his retirement in 1969. He finished his 11-year NFL career (which started with the Cleveland Browns) with 14,078 total yards and 91 career touchdowns (65 receiving and 18 rushing). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.
After his retirement, he continued to work with the ‘Skins for 30 years serving as the assistant general manager.
Mitchell was also at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, working with the NAACP, UNCF and National Urban League. In 1967, He was one of the Black athletes pictured in one of the most famous moments with African American sports players. He joined Bill Russell, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and other prominent figures for the “Cleveland Summit” at the Negro Industrial and Economic Union to hear Muhammad Ali’s views and reasoning for rejecting Army induction.
Dan Snyder released a statement on the passing of Mitchell.
“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.”