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The Washington Football Team wore a No. 49 patch on its jerseys during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles to honor the late Bobby Mitchell, a franchise icon who passed away earlier this year at 84.
Mitchell was the first black player in Redskins franchise history. Washington was the last NFL team to integrate when Mitchell, along with two other black teammates, took the field in 1962.
“You’re performing for a group of people and you’re not sure if they want you, so I had a lot of mixed emotions that game,” Mitchell told the New York Times in 2012. “I still don’t believe I performed as well as I did, knowing how I felt all week long getting ready.”
The 27-year-old had seven catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns in his Washington debut. Mitchell would go on to be a star in Washington where he would eventually become a front office executive. He spent 41 years with the organization as a player and executive.
“Who is the only NFL player with more than 500 career rushes and 500 receptions to average more than five yards per carry (5.3) and more than 15 yards per catch (15.3)? Bobby Mitchell,” Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell wrote in April upon Mitchell’s death.
Daniel Snyder and the Football Team have done dumb stuff that has brought shame to the organization over the years. Putting No. 49 on jerseys this year isn’t one of those decisions.
On Sunday we will honor the late Bobby Mitchell by wearing a No. 49 patch on our jerseys 🙏 pic.twitter.com/XlgKVAFT5g
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 11, 2020
Looks like Washington might be wearing the #49 patch on their jersey’s to honor the late great Bobby Mitchell👀 pic.twitter.com/RkIwtKaOM8
— Washington Realm (@WashingtonRealm) September 11, 2020