In today's Rewarding Moments In Washington History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back to when the late Bobby Mitchell made history in Cleveland, Ohio.
Before Bobby Mitchell made an impact in Washington, he started his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns as a seventh-round pick in the 1958 draft. During his four seasons with the Browns, he immediately showed the league the havoc he was going to cause as one of the greatest players to play the game.
Mitchell landed in Washington in 1962 as the first African-American player in team history. He was immediately one of Washington's most valuable offensive players and special teams weapons. At the end of his seven-year stint, Mitchell finished his time with Washington with 6,930 rushing and receiving yards, averaging 14.3 yards per touch and racking up 51 touchdowns.
One of his most memorable plays happened while he was facing his former team on Sept. 15, 1963. Washington was trailing, 27-7, in the third quarter when George Izo threw the ball to Bobby Mitchell, who then ran the ball 99 yards into the end zone. This play marked the longest receiving touchdown in the NFL.
Mitchell ended his career with three Pro Bowl appearances and a first team All-Pro selection, and he left a lasting legacy with the franchise. Washington's players have been wearing a No. 49 patch on their jerseys, and will continue to do so for the rest of the season to honor Mitchell, who passed away in April.