clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bobby Mitchell passes away at age 84

Hall of Famer played for the Cleveland Browns from 1958 through 1961.

Jim Brown and Bobby Mitchell Signing Footballs

Bobby Mitchell, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1958 to 1961, passed away on Sunday at the age of 84.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Mitchell’s death.

Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker released a statement on the hall’s website:

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Bobby Mitchell. The Game lost a true legend today. 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.”

Mitchell was a seventh-round draft choice by the Browns in the 1958 NFL Draft, joining Jim Brown to give Cleveland a devastating backfield.

In four seasons with the Browns, Mitchell ran for 2,297 yards and had 1,462 receiving yards, while scoring 32 touchdowns. He was a dynamic kick returner as well, scoring six touchdowns on special teams with the Browns.

In 1959, Mitchell ripped off a 90-yard touchdown run against the Redskins that stood as a Cleveland franchise record until running back Nick Chubb broke it in 2018 with a 92-yard touchdown run against the Atlanta Falcons.

Mitchell’s best season with the Browns may have been in 1960, when he had 1,118 combined rushing and receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, earning Mitchell the first of his four Pro Bowl selections.

Following the 1961 season, Cleveland traded Mitchell to the Washington Redskins for running back Ernie Davis, who had been selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Redskins.

Davis was later diagnosed with leukemia and passed away at age of 23 without ever playing a regular season game.

With the Redskins, Mitchell led the NFL in 1962 with 72 receptions after moving from running back to flanker. According to his bio on the Hall of Fame website:

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 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and and was a member of Cleveland’s first Ring of Honor class in 2010.