Bobby Mitchell, the Hall of Fame running back and receiver whose trade to Washington enabled the Redskins to become the last NFL team to integrate, died Sunday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced. He was 84 years old.
A cause of death was not announced.
"I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell," Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. "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."
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1935, Mitchell played at Illinois before the Cleveland Browns drafted him in the seventh round in 1958 -- a year after the Browns drafted Jim Brown.
In four seasons with Cleveland, Mitchell teamed with Brown to form perhaps the NFL's strongest offense at the time. Mitchell ran for 2,297 yards and had 1,462 yards receiving in Cleveland, scoring 38 total touchdowns with the Browns.
Cleveland traded Mitchell to Washington before the 1962 season, and Mitchell became the first African-American to play for the Redskins. The club immediately moved him to flanker, and he led the NFL in receptions (72) and receiving yards (1,384) in his first season in Washington. He again led the NFL in receiving yards the following season (1,436).
He still ranks fifth in Redskins history in receiving yards (6,492), sixth in receiving touchdowns (49) and eighth in receptions (393). He made four Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro in 1962.
Mitchell was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
--Field Level Media