Bobby Mitchell and Tom Dempsey: A reflection of two greats

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 01: A Washington Redskins helmet during the first half during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 01, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Bobby Mitchell and Tom Dempsey passed away this weekend. Here are some thoughts about two legends and what they meant to football.

Washington Redskins great Bobby Mitchell and New Orleans Saints journeyman Tom Dempsey. Two football gods that lived in the hearts and minds of many children and adults throughout many generations, both passed over the weekend.

And both legends have a place in my heart.

I never saw either play as both played long before I started watching. Yet, as a youngster both found a way into my life—or, at least, I knew of them just like today’s children might know of NFL stars from the 1980s and 1990s.

For Mitchell, there are the obituaries that outlining his community activism, his play, and his breaking of the color barrier for the Washington Redskins organization. And we are likely to start hearing stories about him. Oh boy, are we going to get stories!

These obituaries should be read by anyone and everyone who wants to hear how important Mitchell is to Washington. Most Redskins fans, I believe, do not know he was not the only African American George Preston Marshall brought in when the late owner’s team was finally desegregated.

But he was the figurehead.

Instead of sharing all the details and timelines of his career, I would rather explain my connection to Bobby Mitchell. It came through my family at first.

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