Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, who starred for both the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, has died at age 84, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced.
Mitchell, who played halfback with the Browns (1958-61) and flanker with the Redskins (1962-68), was enshrined into the Hall in 1983. He was named All-NFL three times and played in four Pro Bowls in his 11-year career. No cause of death was disclosed.
Mitchell was the first black player to sign with the Redskins, per ESPN. The team issued a statement that read, "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 Daniel Snyder responded to the news of Mitchell's death in a statement released by the team.
"I was extremely saddened to hear the news about the passing of the great Bobby Mitchell," Snyder said. "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."
Mitchell was known for his exceptional speed, balance and agility. He had more than 500 yards rushing in each of his first four seasons with the Browns, then went over 1,300 yards receiving in each of his first two seasons with Washington after changing positions. He finished with a total of 521 catches for 7,954 yards in his career, to go with 2,735 rushing yards on 513 carries (5.3 ypc). The Hall of Fame announced its flag on the museum's campus will be flown at half-staff in Mitchell's memory.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Bobby Mitchell. The Game lost a true legend today," Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said in a statement. "Bobby was an incredible player, a talented executive and a real gentleman to everyone with whom he worked or competed against. His wife Gwen and their entire family remain in our thoughts and prayers. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations."