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Remembering Bobby Mitchell

April 10, 2020

The great player, Bobby Mitchell, who died days back at the age of 84, was so much more than the first black player on the Washington D.C. NFL team. That gives you an idea of all that he accomplished, all the while, maintaining great dignity. No mean feat.

Bobby was indeed the first such player on the team, after his trade from Cleveland, after playing his first four seasons (’58-’61) there, forming an all-time running tandem with the great Jim Brown.

Another great, Lenny Moore marveled that Bobby, as future teammate Charley Taylor also did,  was a standout first as a running back and then a receiver.

Oh what an offensive show it was, the great passer Sonny Jurgensen throwing to Bobby, Charley (Taylor) and tight end, Jerry Smith.

In 1967 the trio ranked first, second and fourth in the league, surely unprecedented (for the record, Charley first, Bobby second and Willie Richardson of the Baltimore Colts was third).

Watching Bobby run, with his “on a dime” cutbacks, was to watch a gifted football genius. 

He made major contributions as a team executive, as well. 

Below is a tremendous piece written by Ray Didinger, about Jerry Smith, just after he died. The bonds of friendship formed among Jurgensen, Taylor, Bobby, defensive back Brig Owens and Jerry, who died after being stricken with AIDS, transcended sports and inspire.

It speaks volumes about all those men,  as today, we remember Bobby Mitchell, the first black player in Washington team history, for his on and off the field, superb accomplishments.

THE COURAGE OF JERRY SMITH – Chicago Tribune

 

 

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