The Washington Redskins announced Saturday in the news that the NFL franchise will honor the late Bobby Mitchell by retiring from his number 49.
This move marks only the second time in 88-year history that the jersey number will be withdrawn.
The team also revealed that the lower level of Fedex Field will henceforth bear Mitchell’s name as a gift to the returning and receiving Hall of Fame.
“There is no one more deserving of these honors than the late Bobby Mitchell,” statement owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “Bobby was one of the most influential players not only in the history of our team, but also in the National Football League. He excelled on the field, in the front office and most importantly in his community, where his charitable efforts have had a huge impact on many people’s lives. “He was one of the greatest people I ever knew.”
A few more wallpapers: Mitchell, who passed away in April, played seven of his 11 NFL seasons in Washington.
In 1961, Mitchell was sold from the Cleveland Browns to Washington and became the first African-American to play for the franchise.
“Bobby was our Jackie Robinson. He had to deal with the pressure of being the first African-American footballer to integrate the Washington Redskins,” former Redskins security guard Brig Owens told the release. “Despite much trouble, he served as a role model for Washington, DC, the community, The Redskins, his fan base and the NFL.”
Owens added: “He was more than an exceptional footballer and athlete, he was an extraordinary human being. He was like a brother to me.”
Mitchell was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
During his career he was selected in the Pro Bowl four times and was a triple First Team All Pro selection.
After Mitchell’s retirement in 1968, his 14,078 multipurpose yards were the second in NFL history, the team said. He also served in the team’s front office for a total of 41 years with the franchise, winning three Super Bowl titles.
The team will officially withdraw Mitchell’s jersey number during the ceremony at a future home game.