The Washington Redskins have announced they're retiring 1983 Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Mitchell's No. 49 today. The team also announced they'd be naming the lower bowl of FedEx Field in honor of Mitchell. Mitchell recently passed away in April at the age of 85.
Mitchell was the first black player to suit up for Washington after they became the last NFL team to integrate in 1962. He played halfback, flanker, and receiver, and was named to four Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team in seven seasons playing for Washington. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame 14 years after retiring.
The decision to retire Mitchell's number is long overdue from Washington. He represents an important part of the franchise's past and was one of the best players to step onto the field for Washington. He led the NFL in receiving twice and over the course of his Washington tenure racked up 6,930 all-purpose yards and 51 touchdowns.
The decision to rename the lower bowl after him is a part of a larger operation to remove any references to former owner George Preston Marshall. Marshall traded for Mitchell after heavy outside pressure forced him to accept integration onto his football team. Washington took down his statue last week and now Mitchell's name will replace Marshall's around the lower bowl of FedEx Field. Steps in the right direction for the franchise this week, but there's still one rather obvious problem everyone is waiting for them to rectify.