The Washington Football Team will honor team legend and former executive Bobby Mitchell by renaming the main concourse of FedEx Field in his honor and retiring his jersey number in a ceremony before the team's Week 2 matchup against the Giants, the team announced on Friday.
Players will wear special patches on their helmets during that game. Washington’s latest tribute to the team legend comes after the squad wore commemorative no. 49 patches on their jerseys during the 2020 season. Mitchell passed away in April 2020. He was 84.
“Bobby was a pioneer and trailblazer for equality and civil rights for our organization and football throughout his remarkable career,” said WFT President Jason Wright in a statement. “We look forward to celebrating Bobby and his significant contributions to our Club and sport during our Sept. 16 game and, with Bobby as our example, we will continue to push for equality within our organization, community and sports overall.”
Mitchell was drafted in 1958 by Cleveland and traded to Washington in 1961, becoming the first black player in team history. Washington was the last NFL franchise to integrate.
After retiring from his playing days, Mitchell had a long career as a front office member in Washington. He served as assistant general manager during all three of the team’s Super Bowl runs. Mitchell was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and his name is also immortalized in the team’s Ring of Fame at FedEx Field. In total, Mitchell spent over four decades as a member of Washington’s team.