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NFL

Mitchell leaves Redskins

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 1, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Bobby Mitchell retired Friday after 41 seasons with the Redskins as a player, scout and front-office executive, saying he was "deeply hurt" by the manner in which late owner Jack Kent Cooke passed him over for the team's general manager job in 1988 and by coach Steve Spurrier's decision to issue his uniform number to another player this season.

Mitchell, 67, joined the front office in 1969 at the suggestion of coach Vince Lombardi after the end of his Hall of Fame playing career. He was the team's first black player. He once had a valued voice on player-related decisions but his position had become increasingly ceremonial and he said late this season he planned to retire.

Mitchell once had sought to be the league's first black general manager, but said he felt comfortable leaving the league now that Ozzie Newsome has been named Ravens GM. Mitchell was passed over for the Redskins GM job in 1978 in favor of Bobby Beathard and again by Cooke a decade later.

As for his number?

"It was an oversight," Mitchell said of tight end Leonard Stephens wearing No. 49, which the team did not hand out for years though it was not retired. "But my family and my friends and I, we grieved about it all year. ... People kept saying to me, 'Why don't you say something?' But I kept thinking about (Stephens)."

Spurrier said in a statement that "there was a mistake by everyone in the organization: me, our equipment staff, tight end coach and personnel guys. ... No one will be wearing Bobby's number during any season."

EAGLES: Brad Childress signed a three-year deal to remain offensive coordinator, eliminating himself as a candidate for the 49ers coaching job.

SEAHAWKS: Hall of Fame receiver and former U.S. Rep. Steve Largent met with team president Bob Whitsitt this week and is considering a return to the team as general manager. Largent, 48, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Oklahoma in 1994. He stepped down last year to run for governor and lost.

MUHAMMAD ARRESTED: Former Colts defensive back Mustafah Muhammad was arrested after a scuffle with three sheriff's deputies in the City-County Building in Indianapolis. Deputies said he refused to walk through a metal detector, would not empty his pockets and refused to leave. Sheriff's Major Polly Cox said Muhammad shoved the deputies before he was arrested on preliminary charges of battery, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct. Muhammad told the Indianapolis Star he was upset because his car had been towed.

ARENA LEAGUE: Orlando Predators Entertainment Inc., which said last month it was having cash-flow difficulties, is selling the team.

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