BOBBY MITCHELL

BOBBY MITCHELL

Class of 1983
Wide Receiver-Halfback >>> 6-0, 192
(Illinois)
1958-1961 Cleveland Browns, 1962-1968 Washington Redskins

Robert Cornelius Mitchell. . .Blessed with exceptional speed, balance, faking ability. . .Split career as Browns halfback, Redskins flanker. . . Noted for spectacular long-distance scoring plays. . .Amassed 14,078 combined net yards. . . Scored 91 touchdowns, caught 521 passes, had eight kick return TDs. . .Topped NFL receivers, 1962. . . Surpassed 50 catches six years. . . All-NFL three times. . .Played in four Pro Bowl games. . .Born June 6, 1935, at Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Bobby Mitchell was blessed with exceptional speed, uncanny faking ability and balance. They were assets that served the versatile wide receiver/halfback well during his 11-year National Football League career that began in 1958 as a seventh-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.

The fact that Mitchell lasted until the seventh round was somewhat of a mystery, but certainly a stroke of luck for the Browns. Mitchell, who had hoped to play flanker in the pros, was teamed with the incomparable Jim Brown to give the Browns one of history's truly great running back combinations from 1958 through 1961.

He also was a breakaway threat as a punt- and kickoff-return specialist. After four productive seasons with the Browns, Bobby was traded to the Washington Redskins where he played with distinction for seven more seasons.

With his trade to Washington, Bobby became the first African American to sign and star for the Redskins. In Washington, the 6-0, 192-pound Mitchell was for the most part a full-time flanker who gained the reputation as one of the finest catch-run yardage makers in the game.

It is little wonder NFL defenders shuddered whenever Bobby got the ball. He was a potential time bomb who almost always went off. When Mitchell retired, his 14,078 combined net yards was the second highest total in NFL history. He had also scored an amazing 91 touchdowns. Eighteen of his touchdowns came by rushing, 65 on receptions, 3 on punt returns, and 5 on kickoff returns. He amassed 7,954 yards on receptions and 2,735 yards on rushes.

He won the NFL receiving title in 1962 with 72 catches. During his first six seasons with the Redskins he never caught fewer than 58 passes. Four times, once as a running back and three times as a wide receiver, he was selected to play in the Pro Bowl.

Year Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1958 Cleveland
12
80
500
6.3
1
16
131
8.2
3
1959 Cleveland
12
131
743
5.7
5
35
351
10.0
4
1960 Cleveland
12
111
506
4.6
5
45
612
13.6
6
1961 Cleveland
14
101
548
5.4
5
32
368
11.5
3
1962 Washington
14
1
5
5.0
0
72
1384
19.2
11
1963 Washington
14
3
24
8.0
0
69
1436
20.8
7
1964 Washington
14
2
33
16.5
0
60
904
15.1
10
1965 Washington
14
0
0
0.0
0
60
867
14.5
6
1966 Washington
14
13
141
10.8
1
58
905
15.6
9
1967 Washington
14
61
189
3.1
1
60
866
14.4
6
1968 Washington
14
10
46
4.6
0
14
130
9.3
0
Career Total
148
513
2735
5.3
18
521
7954
15.3
65
 
Year Team
G
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
No.
Yds.
Avg.
TD
1958 Cleveland
12
14
165
11.8
1
18
454
25.2
1
1959 Cleveland
12
17
177
10.4
1
11
236
21.5
0
1960 Cleveland
12
9
101
11.2
0
17
432
25.4
1
1961 Cleveland
14
14
164
11.7
1
16
428
26.8
1
1962 Washington
14
3
7
2.3
0
12
398
33.2
1
1963 Washington
14
6
49
8.2
0
9
343
38.1
1
1964 Washington
14
0
0
0.0
0
3
58
19.3
0
1965 Washington
14
1
15
15.0
0
5
106
21.2
0
1966 Washington
14
4
21
5.3
0
0
0
0.0
0
1967 Washington
14
0
0
0.0
0
0
0
0.0
0
1968 Washington
14
1
0
0.0
0
11
235
21.4
0
Career Total
148
69
699
10.1
3
102
2690
26.4
5
 
Additional Career Statistics: Passing: 3-3-61, 1 TD
Mitchell never played in a conference or league championship game during his career.

All-NFL: 1962 (AP, UPI, NEA), 1963 (NEA), 1964 (UPI)

All-NFL Second Team: 1959 (NY), 1960 (UPI, NEA), 1963 (UPI, NY), 1964 (AP, NEA, NY)

All-Conference: 1962 (SN), 1963 (SN)

(4) – 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965

(at time of his retirement following 1968 season)

• [1st] Highest Combined Average Gain Combined Net Yards, Career – 11.62
• [Tied for 1st] Longest Pass Reception, Game – 99 (vs. Cleveland, Sept. 15, 1963)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Touchdowns, Combined Kickoffs, Game – 2 (vs. Philadelphia, Nov. 23, 1958)
• [2nd] Most Pass Receptions, Career – 521
• [2nd] Most Yards Gained Receiving, Season – 1,436 (1963)
• [2nd] Most Combined Net Yards, Career – 14,078
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Yards Gained Rushing, Game – 232 (vs. Washington, Nov. 15, 1959)
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Kickoff Returns, Career – 5
• [Tied for 2nd] Most Touchdowns, Combined Kick and Punt Returns, Career – 8
• [3rd] Highest Average Gain, Rushing, Game – 16.6 (vs. Washington, Nov. 15, 1959 – 14-232)
• [3rd] Most Yards Gained Receiving, Season – 1,384 (1962)

Browns’ records held by Mitchell
(Records through the 1961 season, Mitchell’s final season with Cleveland)

• [1st] Longest Rush – 90 (vs. Washington, Nov. 15, 1959)

Redskins' records held by Mitchell
(Records through the 1968 season, Mitchell’s final season with Washington)

• [1st] Most Points Scored, Career – 546
• [1st] Most Receptions, Career – 392
• [1st] Most Yards Gained Receiving, Career – 6,480
• [1st] Most Yards Gained Receiving, Season – 1,436 (1963)
• [1st] Most Yards Gained Receiving, Game – 218 (vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 7, 1963)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Receptions, Season – 72 (1962)
• [Tied for 1st] Most Receptions, Game – 11 (vs. Pittsburgh, Nov. 7, 1963)

League Statistical Championships
Pass Receiving Titles: 1962
Receiving Yards Leader: 1962, 1963

Team Statistical Championships
Scoring Leader: 1962WA
Pass Receiving: 1960CL, 1962WA, 1963WA, 1964WA, 1965WA
Punt Return Leaders: 1958CL, 1959CL, 1961CL
Kickoff Return Leader: 1958CL, 1959CL, 1960CL, 1961CL

CL Cleveland Browns; WA Washington Redskins

• 1958 Rookie of the Year (SN)

Year Team W L T Division Finish
1958 Cleveland Browns 9 3 0 (2nd)
1959 Cleveland Browns 7 5 0 (2nd)
1960 Cleveland Browns 8 3 1 (2nd)
1961 Washington Redskins 8 5 1 (3rd)
1962 Washington Redskins 5 7 2 (4th)
1963 Washington Redskins 3 11 0 (6th)
1964 Washington Redskins 6 8 0 (4th)
1965 Washington Redskins 6 8 0 (4th)
1966 Washington Redskins 7 7 0 (5th)
1967 Washington Redskins 5 6 3 (3rd)
1968 Washington Redskins 5 9 0 (3rd)

 

Full Name: Robert Cornelius Mitchell

Birthdate: June 6, 1935

Birthplace: Hot Springs, Arkansas

High School: Langston (Hot Springs, AR)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 29, 1983

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: July 30, 1983

Presenter: Edward Bennett Williams, Washington Redskins President

Other Members of Class of 1983: Bobby Bell, Sid Gillman, Sonny Jurgensen, Paul Warfield

Pro Career: 11 Seasons, 148 games

Drafted: 7th round (84th player overall) in 1958 by Cleveland Browns

Transactions: December 14, 1961 – Mitchell and the rights to Cleveland’s 1st round draft pick in 1962 (Leroy Jackson, B, Illinois, 11th overall) in exchange for the rights to Washington’s 1st round draft pick in 1962 (Ernie Davis, B, Syracuse, 1st overall).

Uniform Number: 49

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